Floaters are small deposits in the vitreous of your eye, and a normal process of the aging eye – however in the past few years younger and younger people are complaining of floaters in their vision. Why?
It’s not hard to answer. The vitreous is a jelly-like substance within the cavity of your eye, and is subject to detaching from the front of the eye, called a posterior vitreous detachment. This can lead to floaters, and is common by age 50.
But because video games and computer use in general demands so much effort from our eyes, especially darting about from one end to the other, the vitreous has to cope with more abuse than every before. By shaking the vitreous through our computer use, it becomes weaker, quicker, and tends to develop slight imperfections that can oxidize and darken leaving an opaque strand of either protein or blood locked in place, or actually drifting or floating in the liquid of the vitreous freely.
Video games are the biggest culprit here. The size of the monitors people are playing them on does not make the situation any better. Television and movies require our eyes to move, but we are following natural movements that don’t demand attention. A video game, or the internet in general really, demand our firm attention and focus on what we are watching.
So what can you do about vitreous eye floaters? For one thing, you can avoid getting them by taking care of your eyes. Avoid playing games on huge screens unless you are at least far enough away that you can tell your eyes are not being strained. A good rule-of-thumb is to try to play the game far back enough so that your eyes do not have to move at all to see the entire surface of the screen.
Another extremely helpful hint is to ensure the brightness level on your monitor is controlled so that your eyes are not forced to focus (work) more than necessary. Pressure behind the eye increases the chance for more floaters, so ensuring the brightness level is not assaulting your eyes is important.
Finally, the best solution is to play your video games in moderation, and on a smaller screen. When you do play, a very good rule to follow is the 20-20-20 rule. That is for every 20 minutes of playing, take 20 seconds to look at something 20 feet away that is stable and not moving, This will help your eyes relax, refocus, and reduce eye strain and pressure.
Thanks to technology, vitreous eye floaters are now a concern not just for middle-aged and older people, but for younger people too. I would hope to see more public service announcements to help younger people avoid problems with their eyes from unknowingly abusing the technologies they are so lucky to have, and love so much.