Video Games and Vision: How Healthy Eyes Can Help Beat Your High Score

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American Optometric Association Shares How to Gain a Competitive Advantage by Giving Eyes a Break 

ST. LOUIS (February 22, 2018) - With the popularity of video games and competitive gaming on the rise, players are always looking for an edge. Whether battling a computer opponent or Player Two, one secret weapon can help land the high score: the American Optometric Association's (AOA) 20-20-20 rule, which encourages gamers to give their eyes a 20-second rest every 20 minutes.

The AOA's 2017 American Eye-Q® survey revealed that 41 percent of Americans spend more than four hours a week playing video games. Staring at digital devices can lead to digital eye strain, sleep problems, blurred vision, headaches and neck and shoulder pain, among other things. Yet, only 21 percent of Eye-Q® respondents have talked to an eye health professional about the amount of time spent playing video games.

In addition to encouraging players to discuss game usage with an optometrist, the AOA is sharing some insider tips on how to help ease eye discomfort during this year's Save Your Vision Month in March.

  • Level up with the AOA 20-20-20 rule: When you are using any electronic gaming device or computer, make a conscious effort every day to take a 20-second break and look away from the screen, every 20 minutes and view something 20 feet away.

  • Position yourself: Maintain a comfortable working distance from your gaming device by using the zoom feature to see small print and details, rather than bringing the device closer to your eyes.

  • Beat the glare: The AOA recommends reducing the glare by adjusting device settings or using a glare filter to decrease the amount of blue light reflected from the screen.

  • Power down before you turn in: Turn your digital devices off at least one hour before bed.

  • Consider buying protective eyewear: Experiment with blue light filter glasses to limit the blue light beaming from your screen.

  • Schedule an appointment: Find a nearby doctor of optometry by visiting Contact them to schedule an appointment for a regular, comprehensive eye exam to assess vision as well as detect and address potential vision problems.  

"Those who spend excessive time in front of screens may experience physical discomfort, like the one third of gamers who reported headaches or blurry vision in our survey," said Christopher J. Quinn, O.D., AOA president. "Save Your Vision Month is the perfect time to prioritize eye health by practicing the 20-20-20 rule." 

If you think you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed here due to prolonged exposure to digital devices, schedule an appointment with a doctor of optometry:

  •   digital eye strain
  •   dry eyes
  •   eye irritation (burning and stinging)
  •   blurred vision
  •   sleep problems
  •   headaches neck and shoulder pain

To find one nearby or for additional information on how eye health may be impacted while playing video games, please visit

About the American Eye-Q® survey:
The American Optometric Association commissioned a 20-minute, online survey among a nationally-representative sample of n=1,002 U.S. adults ages 18+. The margin of error for this sample is +/-3.1% at the 95% confidence level. The survey was fielded between November 3 and November 9, 2017.

About the American Optometric Association (AOA):

The American Optometric Association, a federation of state, student and armed forces optometric associations, was founded in 1898. Today, the AOA is proud to represent the profession of optometry, America's family eye doctors, who take a leading role in an individual's overall eye and vision care, health and well-being. Doctors of optometry (ODs) are the independent primary health care professionals for the eye and have extensive, ongoing training to examine, diagnose, treat and manage disorders, diseases and injuries that affect the eye and visual system, providing two-thirds of primary eye care in the U.S. For information on a variety of eye health and vision topics, and to find an optometrist near you, visit