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Updated on: Thursday, November 18, 2021, 02:17 PM IST

Online games pick up momentum during pandemic; here's how to protect eyes while gaming

The biggest problem with online games is they require a lengthy time to finish, thus forcing players to stay focused on the screen, at times for hours on end. /Representative image |

The biggest problem with online games is they require a lengthy time to finish, thus forcing players to stay focused on the screen, at times for hours on end. /Representative image |

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First things first. Just like your parents couldn’t prevent you from spending time outdoors with your friends in the pre-Internet world, you too will not be able to completely veer your kid away from the mobile phone and online gaming in this era. Times change, and so do habits and health. Remember our elders mentioning desi ghee and ghar ka makhhan as secrets behind their health?

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic entered our lives and changed the world on its head, several parents grappled with their children’s mobile addiction, wherein they would spend hours playing games on the phone. Video games have existed for nearly 70 years, but thanks to the Internet and mobile phones, online gaming is now a global industry worth over $100 billion.

The biggest problem with online games is they require a lengthy time to finish, thus forcing players to stay focused on the screen, at times for hours on end. Doctors say prolonged bouts of online gaming can lead to symptoms very similar to Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), such as blurry vision, eye irritation and light sensitivity, not to mention neck and shoulder pain. While vision problems are caused due to blue light, and images on the phone screens using pixels, the neck and shoulder pain comes on due to improper positioning while playing online games.

Then there is the obesity factor. As kids spend an increasing amount of time indoors, in front of a computer or a mobile phone, their mobility decreases, thereby raising the risk of them turning overweight. The dangers of obesity and its connection to various lifestyle diseases are well-documented.

Obviously, parents and teachers have a significant role to play here. Making kids aware of the harmful effects of blue light on healthy vision is the first step towards reducing the amount of time they spend in front of a phone or a computer screen. Making them interested in sporting activities is another way towards creating a healthy generation. Ensuring that kids take a break from mobile phones and computers every 20 to 30 minutes will play a huge role in maintaining eye health. But equal attention needs to be paid to the proper nutrition that will support the health of the eyes. I will list a few Dos.

Do ask your kids to take a multivitamin supplement to make sure their eyes are getting the nutrients they need.

Do include a high-quality lutein supplement to your kid’s regimen such as one which includes the lutein ingredient Lutemax 2020 which is clinically studied to support healthy vision and visual performance. Lutein acts as a natural filter of high-energy blue light and has also been shown to improve sleep quality as lengthily screen time can affect a restful night’s sleep. You find this powerful antioxidant in the retina and can be obtained from the diet in yellow and green vegetables, as well as egg yolks.

Benefits of onling gaming

Surprised? Online gaming isn’t all that bad. If played in moderation, video games can help both children and adults improve in several important areas e.g., hand-eye coordination, visual attention and so on. Visual attention is the ability to focus on one thing while ignoring other things. Playing action-oriented online games may actually boost this ability, along with visual reaction time and visual ground discrimination.

Action games also may improve a skill that traditionally deteriorates with age. Known as contrast sensitivity function, this ability allows people to differentiate between shades of colours displayed with a uniform background. This ability is vital for reading, as well as driving at night, and it’s one of the first to fade with age.

Moderation is the crux. With healthy gaming habits, children can take the real advantages it offers and continue with their favourites avoiding the wreck. Modernisation comes with its own benefits. We can reap them only with other simultaneous modifications it necessitates.

(Sanjaya Mariwala is the Founder President of the Association of Herbal and Nutraceuticals Manufacturers of India (AHNMI) and Executive Chairman and Managing Director at OmniActive Health Technologies)

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Published on: Thursday, November 18, 2021, 02:17 PM IST
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