The eyes have to work much harder when viewing gaming or computer screens, and quite often experience strain, irritation and temporary vision problems as a result. This is due to both the way the electronic displays work as well as a reduction in blinking during prolonged viewing. Children who spend a good amount of time playing video games often show symptoms similar to those of computer vision syndrome (CVS) in adults.

Computer Eye Strain

Computer Safety Glasses can significantly reduce eye strain.

Causes and symptoms of CVS
For the eyes, focusing on an electronic display is more demanding than when viewing a flat, two-dimensional surface. This is because edges on games and computer graphics lack definition. Instead of solid contrast and bold edges displays on electronic screens are displayed in groups of pixels, which can be very simply (if not scientifically) described as “dots” on the screen. This can make focusing a struggle, and thus strain the eyes.

CVS can cause many annoying and distracting discomforts. Among these nuisances are dry or itchy eyes, blurred vision, and sensitivity to light, double vision and headaches. Additionally, CVS can cause neck and shoulder pain as a result of the sufferer leaning forward or tilting his head. People have also reported pseudo myopia, a temporary inability to focus on objects at a distance.

Although CVS is not known to pose any negative long-term effects to a person’s vision, it’s distracting and takes away from the productivity or enjoyment of the time spent. There are several things people can do to decrease or prevent bothersome CVS symptoms. One of the easiest and most effective ways to avoid eyestrain from a display is to take periodic brakes. Manufacturers of video game consoles recommend a ten-minute break for every hour of play. Next time you are playing your games for Mac, try taking a moment to get up, walk around and rest your eyes from the glare of the screen before getting back into the game.

Eye drops can help to alleviate the dry, itchy eyes associated with CVS, and decreasing the screen’s brightness will reduce glare and could prevent headache. Squinting might be prevented by increasing the font size on the screen. If these steps aren’t enough, computer safety glasses such as Gunnar Optiks are available and designed specifically to make computer screen viewing easier and less of a strain.

Prolonged viewing of video games and computer screens causes the uncomfortable symptoms of CVS. CVS poses no long-term threat, but is distracting and uncomfortable. It can usually be prevented by taking frequent breaks, using eye drops or increasing the size of the text on the screen. If after these steps have been taken discomfort persists, specialized prescription glasses are available for computer screen use.

Article by: Erin – A contributing writer for and a self proclaimed video game junkie.