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February 27, 2015

Do Video Games Hurt Your Eyes?

With so many children playing video games for extended periods of time, it’s easy to assume there are only negative consequences for their eyes; although what’s harmful in excess is actually beneficial in moderation.

Studies have shown that first-person action games help improve spatial resolution, suggesting that video games can also serve as rehabilitation therapy for certain conditions like lazy eye and even cataracts. Action games can help improve contrast sensitivity, helping us better differentiate between shades of color against a uniform background. Action-oriented games can also give visual attention, as well as visual reaction time, a boost.

With your eye moving rapidly across the screen, you’re training your eyes to focus on subtle details while confronting fast-moving challenges. There’s also some evidence that any type of video game, not just first-person action games, can be good for the eyes.

Because too much exposure to blue light at night can be disruptive to sleep rhythms, it’s best to limit game playing to daylight hours. You can guard against computer eye syndrome by having your child take breaks every 20 minutes, or at least practice 20/20/20, which involves looking away for 20 seconds at an object 20 feet away every 20 minutes.

While an hour of playing can be beneficial, three or more hours at one sitting will lose those benefits. In addition to increasing the risk of computer eye syndrome, excessive video game use can cause eye discomfort, focusing problems, blurry vision and headaches. It’s so easy to get completely immersed in a game to forget to take breaks, and many games require complete focus. Moderation in use is often easier said than done.

Encouraging a healthy lifestyle of diverse interests, that includes outside play, should help keep your children from overusing their video game consoles.

If you have further questions, please contact us our eye care professionals at 877-871-1684.

 

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