How to reduce eye strain while gaming (2024)

Let us guess – you’re reading this because your eyes are screaming, “Give us a break!” 

Been on a gaming marathon chasing those sweet, sweet achievements? Or maybe your nose is buried in textbooks with finals creeping closer like a boss battle?

First things first – grab yourself a refreshing glass of water or some green tea. And hey, don’t forget to blink like a pro as you go to the kitchen. 

Once you’re back, we’ll dive into the mystery of why your eyes are rebelling and reveal some secret tools on how to get rid of this annoying foe for good. 

  1. Why Our Eyes Are (Not) Crying for Help
  2. Can video games damage your eyesight?
  3. Tools – Battle Plan Against Eye Strain
  4. Nutrition – Feed Your Eyes Right

Why Our Eyes Are (Not) Crying for Help

First off, what’s the deal with eye strain, aka Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), or “gamer eyes” in the gaming universe?

It’s not a one-symptom show, but here are the usual suspects:

  • watery or dry eyes
  • blurry or double-take vision
  • headache
  • sore neck, shoulders, or back
  • a dislike for bright lights, known as photophobia
  • trouble keeping your focus
  • feeling that you cannot keep your eyes open

And the culprit? Any task with intense focus

  • reading 
  • driving 
  • looking at the screen for a long time

Yep, even an 8-hour Baldur’s Gate 3 session can have side effects. Who would have thought, right?

Let’s face it – we have a serious relationship with our screens. Remember how your mom used to tell you to stop playing games all the time or you would permanently damage your eyes? 

You probably didn’t listen to her. Don’t worry, we didn’t either.

But the question is still here:

Can video games damage your eyesight?

Well, sort of. It’s not the games directly, but the screens. They’re usually super close to your face, and during long gaming sessions, your eyes stay locked at the same distance for hours.

This is especially tricky for developing eyes (yep, they keep growing until about age 25). It can lead to eyeball elongation – meaning the light that should hit your retina dead-on, ends up off-target, leading to myopia (nearsightedness).

No wonder it’s practically a global epidemic now.

The light also plays a crucial role. Recent studies show the importance of “outdoor” vs. “indoor” light.

It turns out that myopia progression slows down when you spend more time outside.  Even “near-work” activities like mobile gaming or reading, if done outdoors, aren’t as bad, because your eyes get the full spectrum of light.

(Wanna know more about this topic? Check out this video by Andrew Huberman with Dr. Jeffrey Goldberg.)

That brings us to the tools in our arsenal. The Monqs have mastered some killer moves and guess what? We’re sharing our top-secret playbook with you.

Think it’s too late to save your gamer eyes? Think again! Stick with us, and you’ll discover that with these tools, things can actually get much… clearer. 

Tools – Battle Plan Against Eye Strain

1. Light Up Your Eyes

Here’s the game plan: Step outside (yes, you actually need to go outside, sorry) and get a solid 2 hours of natural light. Without sunglasses or anything filtration that UV light, so staying home and looking out of the window doesn’t count as modern windows are upgraded with UV filters.

This is important because the photoreceptors in your eyes are involved in making connections within the retina. They play a key role in ensuring a proper blood supply to the muscles and neurons that handle the focusing magic in your eye – the ones that shift the lens to let you zoom in and out on things near and far.

And here’s the cool part: these cells spring into action with a bit of sunlight, all on autopilot, without you even realizing it’s happening.

2. Morning Magic

Now, let’s talk about your morning ritual. Hitting your eyes with some good old sunlight (yep, sunlight again) right after you roll out of bed is key. If it’s sunny, a quick 10-minute sun gaze should do the trick. On cloudier days, aim for around 30 minutes.

Why this obsession with morning light? It’s all about syncing your body’s internal clock. This light show sends a “cortisol flush” signal to your body a green light to start the day with a bang. It triggers a whole cascade of feel-good processes.

And guess what? Studies show that a dose of morning sunlight does wonders for waking up your body, even outperforming exercise or your beloved morning coffee.

So staying in your curtain-drawn room all day is not the best idea for keeping your sleep rhythm in the groove. Get out there and give your eyes (and body) the light feast they deserve

3. The environment is a key

Eyes love a cozy setting. So here are a few ideas on how to keep them comfortable:

Brighten Up Your Game: Adjust that screen brightness to match your room – too bright or too dim and your eyes are doing overtime.

Yellow-Tinted Coolness: Get Flux or turn on a night mode in your system – think of it as putting sunglasses on your screen. Or, opt for computer glasses for some eye relief. 

Even though there is mixed evidence on the benefits of reducing blue light there is good logic of trying to keep it limited during the later hours of the day.

4. The 20-20-20 rule

Just like you, your eyes need a vacation if you want to avoid eye strain. And this rule is a breeze to remember: 

Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away (6 meters for our non-US friends  ) for 20 seconds.  

These are not just some random numbers we made up during coffee break. Your screen is usually pretty close to your face, so the main goal is to look at something far away

There’s no need to whip out a tape measure for military precision. Just look across the room, and bam – you’ve nailed it.

We get it, you might get sucked into the game and forget about it in less than 20 minutes. Don’t worry, we failed too. Twice. So setting a reminder on your phone may be a good idea.

Or if you feel fancy, there are some apps for that as well – like Eye Care 20 20 20, for example. A perfect tool for keeping that eye strain as far as possible.

And why 20 seconds? That’s the sweet spot for your eyes to chill out. Use this break to drink some water to hydrate yourself, as we mentioned earlier. Green tea is also an excellent idea, as it contains catechins – antioxidants that may protect your eyes and help produce tears for better lubrication. 

Yeah, it really is that easy.

Normally, we blink about 15 times a minute, but when we’re in the zone with screens, it drops to a measly 5-7 times. Your eyes dry out, and bam – discomfort city. Stay hydrated, and maybe give eye drops a shot if things get Sahara-level dry.

Dry air in the room is also a speedrun to get some proper eye strain. The causes can vary – fans, heating units, air conditioners, etc. You may want to turn those down, and also improve the air quality with a humidifier (if you’re kinda tight on cash, a bowl of water will also help).

6. No More Hunchback Gamer Pose

The distance is important. Your screen should be about arm’s length from your eyes, and facing slightly downward. The same goes for phones or any handheld devices – they should be below eye level.

7. Master the secret Art of Smooth Pursuit

Ever heard of the Smooth Pursuit super move for your eyes? It’s like the ultimate gym session for your extraocular muscles – the mighty muscles that control your eye movements. Just like any other muscle in your body, they need a good workout to stay in top form.

Smooth pursuit is our ability to track objects as they move through space. But hey, let’s face it – we’re all about those tiny phone screens and monitors these days, and that’s making our eye muscles weaker and our eyesight worse.

Eye Gym 101: Infinity Drills and Sawtooth Swings

Ready for a quick eye workout to kill any potential eye strain? Just 5-10 minutes, three times a week, is all it takes. Get those eyes moving in an infinity symbol or sawtooth pattern. You can also spice it up a little by switching speed while doing that.

Sure, the best eye workout is the old-school way of seeing things in the distance – watch birds flying in the sky or spend the afternoon on a live tennis match. But hey, it’s your call how much time you want to invest in your eye health.

Nutrition – Feed Your Eyes Right

We already talked about how your mom told you not to spend so much time in front of a computer. 

We bet she also told you to eat carrots so you won’t have bad eyesight. 

You may think she just wanted to manipulate you into eating more vegetables, but actually, she was onto something. 

Have you ever seen a rabbit with glasses, after all?

1. Carrot Science

Carrots are packed with carotenoids (who would have thought, right? ), which are beneficial for eye health. 

Especially Lutein & Zeaxanthin: The Twisted Twins of Eye Health!

In the world of science, they’re called isomers – the two identical molecules with slightly different positioning of the atoms in space. Thanks to this, isomers have various chemical and physical properties

And why are these siblings good for your eyes? They shield them from harmful high-energy waves (UV in sunlight).

Some studies suggest that a high level of both in eye tissue is linked with better vision. They may also help to hold off age-related diseases.

Besides carrots, you can find them in kale, spinach, and some small amounts in corn and broccoli.
Or, of course, in MADMONQ® Champion.   

2. Maqui berry

The most powerful antioxidant nature has provided (so far, because nature never ceases to surprise us). A USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) report shows that Maqui Berry has the highest ORAC value (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) in fruit.

What’s the big deal with antioxidants?

Picture them as your body’s personal bodyguards, shielding your cells from the sneaky attacks of free radicals. These free radicals are like tiny troublemakers that pop up naturally in your body, but some lifestyle choices can speed up the process and increase their numbers, like: 

  • Exposure to toxic chemicals and air pollution 
  • Poor diet 
  • Smoking 
  • Drinking alcohol 

When these tiny villains overrun your system, it can lead to oxidative stress – this can cause damage to cells, including DNA, and contribute to disease and age-related conditions like dementia.

But here’s the kicker: munching on a diet rich in antioxidants can be like sending in the cavalry. It helps slam the brakes on this oxidative chaos and keeps those pesky radicals in check.

Sure, our bodies whip up some antioxidants on their own, but let’s be real – they could use a helping hand. That’s where powering up with antioxidant-packed foods comes in.

That’s about it for today! Hopefully, eye strain will be a thing of the past for you. Now, go show your eyes some love and let them rest. They’ve earned it!

Here’s where we like to play…

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