Gaming is a ton of fun. From Pong to Donkey Kong to Space Invaders to Mario Kart to Tekken to Call of Duty to Pokemon Go!, games keep getting more realistic and more advanced – winning new converts along the way. They also demand more attention and are able to occupy more hours in the day. We now live in a screen-heavy world, where most of our waking hours (even our workdays) are spent staring at a screen.
If you count yourself as a gamer and your free time is also spent in front of screen, your eyes need to be protected. Here are some advanced eye care tips for the gamers, but they do apply to anyone who spends a fair share of their day with a screen (a.k.a. everyone):
1. Take Frequent Breaks
This may sound obvious, but unless you actively commit to taking frequent breaks, a few hours can pass unnoticed. The popular recommendation is 20 minutes. But, if that’s too frequent, shoot for every 45 minutes to an hour. Give your eyes a rest. Go for a quick walk. Close them and sit back for a few minutes. Make sure that your eyes don’t become literally glued to the screen. You’ll feel better at the end of the day and your eyes will too.
2. Look at Objects in the Distance
Another tip to keep top of mind: when your eyes aren’t on the screen, train them to look at objects in the distance. Too often, our line of vision is too short and we don’t give our eyes a chance to focus on faraway objects. The less we look at faraway objects, the less adept we become at it. Protect your vision by focusing on objects in the distance when you’re taking breaks from screen time.
3. Listen to Your Eyes
Every person is different and that’s one of the great complications of any and all healthcare – there is little advice that is one-size-fits-all. Knowing your own body and listening to what it’s telling you is an important skill to develop. If your eyes are bothering you after just a half hour of gaming, consider sticking to gaming at half hour intervals. It sounds easy, but too many people ignore telling signs because they’re not paying close enough attention. All eyes are unique. Listen to what yours are telling you.
4. Prioritize Health
Gaming is a sedentary activity (at least for now – looking at you, Pokemon Go!) If you’re a heavy gamer, make general health a top priority. This includes things like getting regular exercise, maintaining a healthy diet, drinking plenty of water, and getting adequate sleep. Not coincidentally, all of those things will also help protect your eyes. Vision health is tied directly to overall health and focusing on your overall health will help your vision.
5. Don’t Game Before Bed
Along the lines of general health, try to stop gaming at least an hour before bed time. Your eyes need a chance to relax before bed and gaming throws a lot at them. Consider reading a book in bed instead. Similar to the blue light emitted from smartphones, TVs can disrupt the brain’s ability to settle down and that ultimately costs you sleep and costs your eyes an opportunity to rest.
6. Get an Annual Eye Exam
Ok, this one isn’t just for gamers – it is for everybody! Getting an annual eye exam is vital to maintaining and improving your vision. It’s also a critical component of your overall healthcare routine. Your eyes are a great indicator of health and visiting your local optometrist at least once a year is an excellent way to practice preventative care and make sure your vision is clear. If it’s not, your optometrist can help fix it. There’s no reason not to see your eye doctor frequently.
Follow these advanced eye care tips and game on!