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Video Games on Vision

Author: Chen Zhe Lin

Editors: Ivan Feng and Jasleen Matharu

Artist: Guanxin Li

Do you ever look at a screen for multiple hours every day? Most adolescents spend several hours on an electronic device every day, reasoning that there’s nothing else to do. While that may be true from their perspective, the infliction on their vision and overall health is a hefty price to pay for entertainment. About 41% of adolescent boys and 20% of adolescent girls play video games every day, and the values continue to rise as society becomes more dependent and attached to technology. With this societal change in mind, it is crucial to understand the effects screens, specifically, video games, have on our health and well-being, and what can be done to avoid serious problems.

Many video games require much concentration and time to achieve certain goals. The long-term concentration needed has similar effects as when one watches television for long periods of time. Some symptoms include headaches, blurred vision, and eventually developing nearsightedness. Long-term video gaming can also result in Computer Vision Syndrome. This condition is caused by staring at a computer for a long duration and results in blurry vision, eye irritation, light sensitivity, and neck and shoulder pain.

The negative impacts on vision can be reduced by making simple adjustments to your gaming setup. For example, when playing video games on television, you should be 9 to 10 feet from the screen and on your knees at 90-degree angles. For a computer, the top of the monitor should be at eye level and your eye shouldn’t be tilted looking at the screen. Additionally, one can consider investing in blue-light glasses if they spend long hours on a device, as the tinted lenses reduce the degradation of the eyes.

It is a common misconception that playing video games has no worthwhile reward and that one will only regret spending their time on the screen, but that is far from the case. Playing video games can improve your hand-eye coordination and improve your visual skills with your hand movement. Another benefit is improved visual attention, the ability to focus on one thing in an environment while ignoring all other surroundings and disruptions.

Video games have some value despite the negative consequences that frequently result from staring at a screen. Moreover, if you make sure to take care of your eyes and health and be careful, it will reduce those undesired effects. Of course, remember always to find other activities to do in your spare time, as video games are not the only solution to boredom.

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