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  • Writer's pictureMaria Cholakova

Can Gaming Affect Your Eyes? Truths & Myths About Eye Damage from Gaming

Gaming has become an integral part of modern entertainment. But along with the fun come concerns about potential eye harm and the ways this hobby can impact eye health. With excessive screen time and intense visual engagement, many wonder: Can gaming affect your eyes negatively? Our publication explores the truths and myths surrounding eye damage from gaming.

Truths & Myths about Eye Damage from Gaming

By recognizing the truths and myths surrounding eye health and gaming, people can learn how to protect their vision while enjoying their favorite pastime.

Myth: Gaming Causes Irreversible Vision Loss

Contrary to popular belief, gaming does not cause vision loss. Excessive gaming can contribute to eye strain and discomfort, though. Vision loss is associated with underlying eye conditions, rather than recreational activities like playing games.

Truth: Extended Screen Time Can Cause Eye Strain

Too much screen time, whether from gaming, working on a computer, or using mobile devices, can indeed cause eye strain. The phenomenon, computer vision syndrome (CVS) or digital eye strain, stems from the glare from screens, reduced blinking frequency, and poor ergonomic setups.

Continuous focus on screens without breaks induces eye dryness, irritation, blurry vision, and headaches, which are the symptoms of CVS. But while gaming contributes to extended screen time, eye strain may occur with any activity involving prolonged visual concentration.

Myth: Gaming Always Leads to Eye Damage

A common misconception is gaming inevitably leads to permanent eye damage. While screen time can contribute to CVS and temporary discomfort, assuming playing games contributes to irreversible eye damage is wrong. The key lies in moderation and adopting healthy gaming habits, rather than demonizing it as inherently harmful to eye health.

Truth: Proper Lighting and Screen Settings Can Reduce Eye Strain

Adjusting lighting conditions and screen settings can alleviate CVS during gaming sessions. Adequate ambient lighting and minimizing glare from external sources lowers visual discomfort. Furthermore, adjusting the brightness, contrast, and font size of the display can optimize viewing conditions. By making these adjustments, gamers can create a comfortable visual environment and reduce the risk of digital eye strain.

Myth: Red Eyes Are a Sure Sign of Eye Damage

Red eyes can be a symptom of eye strain during gaming, but they are not necessarily indicative of eye damage. Redness occurs when blood vessels in the conjunctiva dilate or inflame. In the context of gaming, red eyes are often a temporary response to long screen exposure, reduced blinking frequency, and dryness.

eye damage from gaming

How Can Gaming Affect Your Eyes?

Computer vision syndrome (CVS) or digital eye strain, is not unique to playing games. Any activity involving extensive screen activities can cause digital eye strain. So you can also get it from working on a computer, spending time on a mobile device, or even when playing VR.

Staring at a screen for long periods without breaks leads to dryness, red eyes, irritation, itchy sensations, blurry vision, and headaches. This discomfort happens due to the intense visual focus and fast-paced action typical in gaming environments.

Here is how you will experience CVS if you play video games for hours:

When you concentrate intensely on gameplay, you blink less frequently. That's an unconscious decision you can't always control. Your eyes will become dry and irritated, and you may have a scratchy feeling or eye tingling. The need to rub the eyes is also quite common, but it's a thing gamers should avoid doing.

The blue light emissions by screens can disrupt your natural sleep-wake cycle and cause eye fatigue. This means your eyes will get tired, and you may notice everything getting blurrier. After a while, your eyes may get puffy and red. Red eyes are a temporary side effect of gaming. Redness subsides once the eyes get rest and proper hydration.

One of the worst side effects of gaming for extended periods is the CVS headaches. When your eyes get super tired, and you continue to expose yourself to the digital screen, you will inevitably get a very stubborn, intense, and dull headache. Once you get there, the best way to make it stop is by going to sleep and getting adequate rest.

Please distinguish between temporary discomfort and long-term damage. Contrary to popular belief, red eyes from gaming and other CVS symptoms are not always a sign of eye damage. In most cases, they are a transient response to screen exposure, unless there's another underlying eye condition.

How to Reduce Eye Strain While Gaming?

Reducing digital eye strain while gaming is a necessity to improve comfort during long game sessions.

Follow our tips and adopt these preventive measures to minimize the risk of digital eye strain while gaming:

Screen Breaks

During intense gaming sessions, it's easy to get lost in the virtual world and forget to give your eyes a break. A good solution is to make taking breaks a habit. Set a timer to remind yourself to step away from the screen every hour. Use the time to stretch your legs, grab a snack, or look away from the screen to relax your eye muscles.

Screen Settings

The brightness, contrast, and font size of your display impact eye strain from gaming. Decrease the brightness to reduce glare, adjust the contrast for optimal visibility, and increase the font size to make text easier to read. Experiment with different settings until you find the combination that feels most comfortable for your eyes.

Proper Lighting

Adequate lighting can ease CVS from gaming. Avoid playing in dark rooms or environments with harsh glare, as both can strain your eyes. Instead, opt for moderate ambient lighting that evenly illuminates your gaming area. Position your gaming setup away from direct sources of light (windows or overhead lamps), to minimize screen reflections.


Dehydration amplifies symptoms of dry eyes. Meaning you will feel intense discomfort and irritation during gaming sessions. The solution is to drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially during game time. Keep a water bottle nearby and take regular sips to stay hydrated. If you can, add hydrating snacks, such as fruits and veggies, into your gaming routine to boost your fluid intake.

Artificial Tears

If you feel dryness or irritation in your eyes while gaming, artificial tears will be a game-changer, pun intended. These over-the-counter drops provide instant relief from icky sensations. Keep your artificial tears handy and use them during long gaming sessions. For such frequent use, avoid eye drops with preservatives!

Optimize Ergonomics

Pay attention to your gaming setup. If you have proper ergonomics, you are a step closer to alleviating some of the eye strain discomforts. Position your gaming monitor at eye level to reduce neck strain and maintain a comfortable viewing angle. Use an adjustable chair and maintain good posture to minimize physical discomfort during gameplay.

Game in Moderation

Gaming is an enjoyable activity, but gamers need to strike a balance and avoid excessive screen time. Limiting the duration of play sessions and taking screen breaks will help avoid eye strain and promote well-being.

screen effects on eyes during gaming

Checked by Atanas Bogoev, MD.


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