Urban Optique
4935 40 Ave NW #132 Calgary AB T3A 2N1 (403) 286-4142

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Calgary, AB


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Can Video Games Damage Your Eyesight?

If you or your child are a fan of video games, you may wonder if they affect eyesight. Video games have a lot of misconceptions surrounding them, and it’s common to assume they’re bad for your vision. Should you be worried that video games can lead to vision-related complications

Continue reading to learn more about video games and your vision, including if they can damage your eyes.

How Do Video Games Affect Your Sight? 

Video games cannot cause permanent damage to your eyes or vision. However, like all digital devices, video games can lead to other temporary issues that can lower your quality of life. 

Video games can cause focusing problems, eye irritation, and digital eye strain. 

Focusing Problems

You may struggle to focus if your eyes are uncomfortable after playing video games. Your eyes constantly focus and refocus playing these games, tiring them out. 

Eye Irritation

Video games can lead to irritated, dry eyes. Irritation is even more likely if you play games without regular rest.

Digital Eye Strain

Digital eye strain is a common condition many people experience when using digital devices like video games, computers, or phones. It occurs when your eyes become tired from extended focus on digital screens, leading to several uncomfortable symptoms, including headaches, eye strain, and blurry vision.

While this condition is common, you can help protect your eyes when playing video games, avoiding discomfort. 

How Can You Protect Your Eyes While Gaming? 

While video games can affect your vision, leading to eye strain and irritation, it isn’t a guarantee. You can help protect your eyes when gaming in several ways. Many of these tips apply to any digital screens you use for work or entertainment.

Consider using the following tips to help prevent unnecessary eye strain when you or your child play video games.

Avoid Glare & Other Vision Reducers

Limiting glare, reflection, and other vision reducers can make video games more vision-friendly. Keep your screen away from incoming sunlight and harsh overhead lights, to reduce the need to squint.

Additionally, keeping your digital screens clear of dust, debris, and fingerprints can improve clarity, making it easier to see. You can reduce the risk of eye strain by optimizing your video game space.

Take or Encourage Breaks

Taking a break can be difficult if you’re an avid gamer. You may feel the urge to say “10 more minutes” or “one more game,” but give your eyes a break. Frequent breaks allow your eyes to rest and prevent eye strain. 

A man and a woman sitting on a couch playing video games and looking into a TV screen at the same time.

If your child enjoys playing games for long stretches, encourage these breaks. An effective way to reduce or prevent eye strain is the 20-20-20 rule—take a 20-second break every 20 minutes to look at something at least 20 feet away. This break from looking at the screen can help lower the chance of irritation and strained eyes. 

Remember to Blink

People generally blink 12 times a minute, but screen time, including video games, can change this. It’s common to blink 50% less (5 blinks per minute) when using digital devices, leading to dry eyes. Remember to blink to help avoid unnecessary discomfort.

Keep the Room & Screen Well Lit

If you tend to play video games late at night, you may leave the lights off and enjoy your game in the dark. While it seems convenient, this action increases the contrast between your screen and the area around you, which can lead to discomfort and ineffective vision. You can help minimize discomfort by keeping your room well-lit.

Another tip is to change your screen’s brightness and contrast to match your room’s lighting. You can enhance the images you see by doing so. Bright lights can reduce contrast on the screen, causing your video game to look faded or “off.” 

Keep Your Distance from the Screen

Sitting away from your screen can help avoid eye strain and irritation when playing video games. Close-up focusing may not be harmful, but it’s less effective if you’re trying to see your screen at its best. It can feel tempting to sit close to the screen if you’re focusing, but you can see your screen more clearly from further away with sharper images and better-defined lines.

If your child tends to sit close to the screen to see, encourage them to sit further away. If this is a consistent problem, bring them in for an eye exam. It’s common for children with myopia to sit close to screens or televisions to see clearly.

Enjoy Comfortable Video Game Time

Video gaming may not be a long-term risk to your family’s vision, however, it can lead to irritation and eye strain. By changing some of your digital habits, you can help prevent future discomfort. 

Contact your optometrist if you’re curious about how to prevent eye strain. They can review your habits and lifestyle before recommending ways to reduce irritation.

Written by Russ Reisner

Dr. Reisner and Dr. Kuntz (who is also Dr. Reisner’s uncle) acquired and expanded Urban Optique into its current location in 2006 and 2007. Dr. Reisner was born and grew up in Limerick, Saskatchewan – a small farming community about an hour south of Moose Jaw. After attending the University of Saskatchewan he earned his degree in Optometry from Indiana University in 2001. Dr. Reisner is very proud of everything he and his colleagues have accomplished.

More Articles by Russ Reisner

Our Location

Located on the main floor of the Market Mall professional building. Providing eye exams, in-stock contact lenses and over 2,000 frames from over 40 brands of eyeglasses. Free parking is available for this Northwest Calgary location.


4935 40 Ave NW #132
Calgary AB, T3A 2N1

Contact Information

  • Monday: 9:00am - 6:00pm
  • Tuesday: 9:00am - 9:00pm
  • Wednesday: 9:00am - 9:00pm
  • Thursday: 9:00am - 6:00pm
  • Friday: 9:00am - 6:00pm
  • Saturday: 9:30am - 5:30pm
  • Sunday: Closed
  • Dr. Russ Reisner
  • Dr. David Schmidt
  • Dr. Pri Tawar
  • Dr. Nevin McIvor
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