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Stream Safely with Professional Gamer, ARUUU
"Gaming is a huge part of my life and what I love to do, but I also know I only get one set of eyes and screens can impact them in a big way. You can't just swap them out or take a potion to heal them. So, it’s important to treat your eye health preventatively. And if something does come up, you should immediately take care of it." -ARUUU
ARUUU streams about five to seven hours a day, every day of the week. She is aware of the importance of eye health because she has felt the repercussions of screen time firsthand. "One of my biggest issues has been headaches because I'm constantly looking at a screen and not always taking the proper care that I need," ARUUU says. "So, I tend to get headaches every night after the stream."
If you experience symptoms like ARUUU, optimizing your gaming setup and following the 20-20-20 rule can help break up your screen time and give your eyes a much-needed break. It's also essential to speak to your doctor of optometry about your gaming and general screen time so they can help provide personalized tips and care specific to you.
Christina Miller, O.D., an AOA doctor of optometry and avid gamer herself, loves connecting with fellow gamer patients and knows just how common ARUUU's experiences are.
"While ARUUU's screen time is focused on streaming, most people have seen an increase in their own screen time the past few years," Dr. Miller says. "For many, that came with an increase in digital eye strain. But the good news is that there are ways to help mitigate the impact. No matter the device, maintaining a proper distance between your eyes and the screen can make a difference. I recommend at least 13 inches for smaller screens, like your phone, and 20 inches for larger screens, like a computer or television."
AOA's 2022 Gamer Survey results revealed that gamers spend an average of four hours each day gaming, plus other screen time, with only a short break between sittings. Many gamers have personally experienced eye-related symptoms while playing video games or being on digital screens for an extended period, including eye strain (48%), headaches (36%), dry eyes (35%) and blurred vision (31%).
After a day of streaming and using her phone, ARUUU's screen time can often go up to 20 hours a day. This overstimulation from phones or games can interfere with your sleep cycle. ARUUU has struggled herself, "I typically get about three to four hours of sleep. Sometimes I'll try to sleep in, but I wake up periodically throughout the night. I'm completely overstimulated, so even if I sleep, I'll wake up every hour or every 30 minutes, and I kind of force myself to go back to sleep."
Limiting screen time before bed allows your mind to slow down and relax, allowing for more restful sleep.
"Exposure to bright screens and the blue light emitted from them can stimulate photoreceptors in our eyes that can impact our circadian rhythm," Dr. Miller says. "As a gamer myself, I know how much I enjoy gaming as a way to decompress after work and connect with friends, but it's important to give yourself time to wind down at the end of the day and turn off the screens at least an hour before bed."
As a gamer, ARUUU knows the importance of taking care of her vision for herself and her fellow gamers. "You only have two eyes and a limited amount of chances to take care of them," ARUUU says. "You shouldn't neglect them. You shouldn't neglect yourself."
Comprehensive, annual eye exams will keep your eye health in check. In-person, quality care is an essential part of our health and well-being. Whether you're a pro gamer, Twitch streamer, casual scroller, or someone who spends all day working at the computer, it is critical that you see a doctor of optometry in-person every year and adopt healthy gaming and screen time habits (such as the 20-20-20 rule or changing device settings) to maintain optimal eye health.
ARUUU advises her fellow gamers: "Keep those eyes healthy so that you can experience everything that the world has to offer."
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.
Tara Robertson took up gaming after completing her active military service and her new hobby came with a sharp increase in screen time. The symptoms she experienced are what led her to book a comprehensive eye exam, but once she arrived, she found something unexpected; a fellow gamer leading her care.
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