Gamer Eye Syndrome, Health Problems Caused By Video Games

Do you have red eyes, dry eyes, tired or irritated eyes? A monotonous straight view, when spending long sessions in front of a computer screen, may result in reduced eye blinking. Reduced eye blink rate will not go without consequences. Irritated or inflamed eyes are quite common, especially after continuous long periods of gaming or as a result of daily office work. The condition has many names: Gamer Eye Syndrome – Office Eye Syndrome – Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) – Digital Vision Syndrom.

What are the causes of Gamer Eye Syndrome?

The cause of the Gamer Eye Syndrome is often intensive and excessive time spent staring at a computer screen.

Whether you are an office worker or gaming enthusiast sour itchy eyes are a common problem. It can affect anyone who spends to much time looking at a computer monitor.

Besides visual signal processing, the human eye needs exercise trough eye movement to stay healthy, just like the rest of your body. What is also essential to the well being of our eyes is going out and expose them to daylight. You may think it is bright enough in an office, but this is far from the amount of light outdoors.

Throughout human history, eyes had permanently to move and adapt to changing visual challenges, viewing near to look after the immediate surroundings while constantly scanning for moving objects in the distance, be it for prey when hunting or spotting a potential predator or other threat.

In today’s modern life, people spend time in front of screens, watching movies, doing computer work, playing video games. It all results in a more or less monotonous rigid stare during which visual signal processing of the eyes is busy while the eyes are suffering from lack of movement. Staring while concentrating on a narrow field of view also results in a dramatic drop of eye blinking. But Eye blinking is important to ensure the moisturization of the eye.

Reduced eye blink rate, the main cause of Gamer Eye Syndrom

The normal blink rate of an eye is about 20 to 25 blinks per minute. This is sufficient to spread the tears and provide enough moisture needed by the eye to prevent irritation and damage.

When the eye blink rate drops than effective lubrication of the eyes are jeopardized as too much tear fluid evaporates before it is replaced by the next eye blink. Concentrated staring at a computer monitor can reduce the eye blinking frequency dramatically to as low as  1 or 2 blinks a minute. A blink rate this low cannot adequately lubricate the eye anymore. In consequence, the thickness of the liquid film in the eye suffers.

Typical complaints of gamer eye syndrome are dry eyes with sensations of itching, burning, scratching or the feeling sand in the eye. The eye is also more susceptibility to infections.

Symptoms of Gamer Eye Syndrom/Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS)

The following may be symptoms of gamer eye syndrome:

  • Eyestrain
  • Itchy and burning eyes
  • Redness of the eyes
  • Extremely dry eyes
  • Nausea
  • Malaise, visual defects
  • Headaches
  • Neck and shoulder pain

Factors contributing to CVS

  • Excessive screen time without a break
  • Uncorrected visual defects and problems
  • Reflections and glare on the screen
  • Poor lighting
  • Wrong screen distance
  • Poor Workstation setup

What to do when noticing Gamers Eye Syndrom?

You should know your eyes and what they normally feel like. If you notice any of the symptoms and early warning signals then it is time to act before the occurrence of serious problems. Don’t take symptoms lightly, because when ignored, further health problems are likely to develop.

Itchy eyes, dry eyes, redness, headaches indicate that something is wrong and should be changed to prevent chronic inflammation of the eye and visual system. Its prognosis depends on the severity of the condition. Most people have mild symptoms and changes in the work environment together with symptomatic treatment may be sufficient to relieve the symptoms.

Small adaptions to the workplace or gaming station may help

  • Take regular breaks from sitting in front of the screen
  • Exercise your eyes regularly to prevent eyestrain. Look around often, every 15 to 20 minutes allow your eyes to wander off and focus objects in the distance.
  • Learn to blink your eyes. It takes time but conscious and regular blinking in front of the screen can be trained
  • Reduce time spend on the computer if possible, do some exercise during breaks
  • Allow for proper lighting
  • Use quality anti-glare computer monitors, use a glare filter
  • Computer chairs should be properly adjusted to sit in comfort at the right hight
  • If possible avoid air-conditioned dry air blowing at you

To eliminate the cause of CVS you have to change your habits. Artificial tears may help and bring some temporary relief.

Gamers Eye Syndrom

The Office Eye Syndrome – Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) or Gamer Eye Syndrome or whatever name one might prefer is, unfortunately, a widespread condition.  It creeps in slowly, people often don’t notice it or don’t connect it to excessive time spent in front of computer screens. However, it is a condition to be taken seriously and should not be underestimated.

If you notice your eyes frequently being dry, feeling itchy, irritated, or are reddened often or if you have the impression that something is not normal with your eyes, then ist time to investigate the cause and seek medical attention.