Does Playing Video Games Hurt Your Eyes?

Possible Concerns and Prevention Strategies

Playing video games can cause eye strain, irritation, focusing issues, and more. It's important to protect your eyes if you play video games often.

This article explains some of the reasons why your eyes may hurt after playing video games. It also covers how to prevent eye strain from gaming.

Child playing video game.
Rebecca Nelson / Getty Images

Can Video Games Cause Permanent Eye Damage?

In general, playing video games does not lead to permanent eye damage. However, it can cause other issues, and in some cases, visual issues may worsen if not corrected appropriately by an eye doctor.

Research has shown that prolonged gaming without significant breaks can cause eye focus issues.

Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS)

Individuals who spend a lot of time on a computer or other screens can develop specific problems with their eyesight, and in some cases, a condition called computer vision syndrome (CVS).

Both children and adults can get computer vision syndrome.

The signs of CVS include:

Symptoms of CVS can be made worse by playing games for a long time without a break. Playing in dimly lit rooms, sitting too close to the screen, or having poor posture while gaming can also worsen symptoms.

Individuals who already have problems with their eyesight are at an increased risk of getting this condition.

Focus Problems 

If your eyes hurt from playing video games, you might also have problems focusing your eyes. When looking at a screen, the eyes constantly change focus, making them very tired.

Playing video games makes the eyes "lock up." This may make it difficult for the eyes to focus easily on other objects, even long after the video game is turned off.

Eye Irritation

Video games can cause eye irritation and dryness, especially if you play for a long time without taking breaks.

You may blink less frequently while absorbed in a video game or other screen use. Not blinking enough can affect the flow of tears, and can lead to red, dry, and irritated eyes.

How Can I Protect My Eyes While Gaming?

There are steps you can take to help protect your eyes while you play video games.

Here are a few ways to reduce eye strain and protect your vision while gaming:

  • Take breaks often, including "blinking breaks"
  • Sit in proper posture while playing
  • Use glasses with an anti-reflective coating to reduce glare from screens
  • Avoid gaming in a dark room
  • Make sure to get regular eye checkups, especially if you notice your vision isn't as sharp as it once was
  • Use artificial tears to keep your eyes from drying out

There is a lack of evidence that supports the use of blue-light filtering glasses for eye strain.


Playing video games can affect vision. Gaming for a long time can lead to eye strain, eye irritation, and even computer vision syndrome.

There are ways to reduce eye strain from video games. Taking breaks, using artificial tears, and blinking often are some steps you can take to help protect your eyes. You should also get your eyes regularly checked by your eye doctor.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How can I help my child avoid eye strain from gaming?

    Encourage your child to take frequent breaks while gaming to avoid eye problems. They should also sit at least 10 feet from TV screens, two feet from laptops, and one foot from mobile phones.

  • Can you get eye strain while gaming?

    Yes. Using screens for a long time without taking breaks can cause eye strain.

  • How do gamers protect their eyes?

    One of the best ways to protect your eyes while playing video games is by taking breaks. It also helps to ensure you're playing in a well-lit room and not sitting too close to the screen.

  • How many hours of gaming is too much?

    Eye health experts recommend not playing video games for more than three hours in a single day.

9 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Troy Bedinghaus, OD
Troy L. Bedinghaus, OD, board-certified optometric physician, owns Lakewood Family Eye Care in Florida. He is an active member of the American Optometric Association.