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Sharing safe screen habits with gamer and content creator, Tuonto
Tuonto first got into gaming as a young kid. His mom introduced him to her favorite Nintendo game and, before long, he was hooked. But it wasn’t until the COVID-19 pandemic that gaming turned into something more. While looking for ways to occupy his time during lockdown, he began creating content and streaming on Twitch.
What started out as a hobby is now a full-fledged career. Even though he still finds time to cook, read, and play the piano, Tuonto devotes most of his day to his computer screen, which can add up to an average of 10 hours a day. “My game sessions usually last around two or three hours, maybe four. But most of my day is work and planning and prepping videos.”
At times while gaming, Tuonto has noticed his vision becoming blurry. To reset his focus, he’s made a habit of looking away from his computer and focusing on a physical object farther away. This is what’s called the 20-20-20 rule. As a gamer and doctor of optometry, Christina Miller knows the importance of this rule better than most.
“Due to glare and how close our eyes are to our devices, prolonged exposure to screens can result in computer vision syndrome, otherwise known as digital eye strain. Remembering to look away from your screen every 20 minutes at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds and blinking helps to lower the eye discomfort associated with this.” - Dr. Christina Miller
Apart from blurry vision, other signs and symptoms of digital eye strain can include dry eyes, neck and shoulder pain, and headaches. To those who spend a lot of their time on screens, like Tuonto, he has this piece of advice: “Don’t be afraid to ask for help about your eyes. I feel like a lot of people don’t bother until something happens.”
The importance of regular eye exams is something Tuonto learned the hard way. After suffering through frequent recurring eye infections related to wearing contact lenses, Tuonto eventually sought help from a doctor of optometry. Together, they were able to treat his symptoms with specialized eye drops. Now, his eyes have been infection-free for years.
According to Dr. Miller, screen time can increase your risk of developing dry eye disease. “When you spend so much time in front of a screen, you tend to blink less frequently. Blinking helps create and spread tears across the cornea, which is what keeps your eyes hydrated. When your eyes are dry and they don’t have enough tears to rinse away foreign matter, they can become more prone to infection.”
Booking annual eye exams with a doctor of optometry is the first step to optimal eye health. This is a message Tuonto is happy to share with his fellow gamers.
|“I gotta be sure to keep healthy eye habits. It’d be a huge thing for me to be able to push [my followers] in the right direction and to be on that journey with them. We can learn together.” - Tuonto|
Christina Miller, O.D., is a 2004 graduate of Huntingdon College, in Montgomery, Alabama, and a 2009 graduate of the Southern College of Optometry, in Memphis, Tennessee. She owned and operated Fayette Family Vision Care in Eads, Tennessee, from 2010 until 2019, and has been with Family Eye Care in Blytheville and Osceola, Arkansas, since 2017. Dr. Miller was named the 2014 Young Optometrist of the year by the Tennessee Association of Optometric Physicians and received the 2022 Special Services Award from the Arkansas Optometric Association for her work with their social media. She also currently serves as clinical consulting faculty at the Southern College of Optometry, working with third year students in the adult primary care clinic.
Dr. Miller is a member of the American Optometric Association, the Social Media Director of the Arkansas Optometric Association and is past president of the West Tennessee Optometric Physicians Society.
Find an AOA doctor of optometry near you.
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