Video games can be a great way to kill time, socialize, and entertain yourself, and sometimes they can even be educational. They can also help you improve your cognitive abilities, decision-making and multitasking skills, and teamwork. However, gaming for long periods can also negatively affect your physical health. Read on to find three common ways in which prolonged gaming can negatively impact your health and how to prevent them.

Common Ways Gaming for Prolonged Periods Can Affect Your Health

1) Eye Strain

Prolonged gaming and excessive screen time can cause a common disorder known as Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). Focusing on a brightly lit screen for a long time causes eye strain, leading to blurred vision, dryness, red and itchy eyes, and headaches. Other risk factors for CVS include improper lighting, poor posture, and screen glares.

Additionally, if you have any uncorrected vision problems like nearsightedness, your eyes will have to work even harder to focus on the screen, worsening the symptoms of CVS. While CVS does not cause permanent damage to the eyes, its effects on your eyes can affect performance at work or home. You can counter all of these problems in the following ways:

  • Using a pair of computer or gaming glasses that protect your eyes from harmful blue light that digital screens emit
  • Getting your eyes and vision checked by an eye specialist every year
  • Limiting screen time if possible
  • Making sure that you don’t sit too close to the screen while gaming
  • Using the 20-20-20 rule, or taking a 20-second break every 20 minutes to view an object 20 feet or more away from you

2) Hearing Loss

Prolonged headphone use associated with long gaming periods can cause hearing loss, especially if you’ve set the volume above the recommended level. Experts recommend a maximum sound exposure level of 85 decibels (dBA)for 8 hours daily. Repeated or extended exposure to sounds above this level causes hearing loss by damaging the inner ear’s auditory nerve and hair cells. Experts also say that the length of exposure to sound also matters. Exposure to even moderate sound levels for a long time can also cause hearing loss.

Common warning signs of hearing loss include ringing ears, muffled sounds, difficulty hearing high-pitched sounds and speech consonants, and more. If you suffer from any of these symptoms, you must get your hearing checked by a doctor. You can enjoy excellent hearing care services from HearCanada. Some ways you can prevent hearing loss due to headphone use are:

  • Limiting exposure to noise and turning down the volume
  • Reducing listening times
  • Using noise-cancellation headphones
  • Using over-the-ear headphones instead of in-the-ear headphones (earbuds).

3) Repetitive Stress Injuries

Gaming for prolonged periods can cause repetitive stress injuries, also called overuse injuries. When you repeatedly use muscles and tendons of any part of the body, it can cause them to become inflamed and painful. If you don’t take care of these injuries on time and allow them to progress, the muscles and tendons can remain injured permanently and become numb and weak.

Gamers commonly overuse their hands and arms, so stress injuries on these parts are typical for them. An example is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Repetitive wrist movements can cause a nerve in your wrist to get injured and inflamed, causing your wrist and hands to become numb, painful, and weak.

Your fingers might also become swollen and immovable. Another example is ‘Gamer’s Thumb.’ Repeated thumb movements can cause inflammation in its tendon, causing it to become painful and swollen and limiting its range of movements. You can prevent these  injuries by:

  • Performing hand and wrist stretching exercises before and after playing
  • Reducing playing time or taking frequent breaks to decrease the strain on the body
  • Gripping your mouse or controller in a relaxed manner while playing
  • Using a cushioned mouse pad


While gaming can be an entertaining way to pass the time, playing games for long periods can also significantly affect your health negatively. Focusing on brightly lit screens for a long time can cause eye strain, leading to dry, red, itchy eyes and blurred vision. Using headphones or a prolonged period while gaming can damage the hair cells of your inner ear, ultimately leading to hearing loss.

Repetitive hand and wrist movements can also cause the muscles and tendons to become inflamed, causing weakness, numbness, and pain. You can avoid these problems by limiting gaming time, taking frequent breaks, using gaming glasses, cushioned mouse pads, over-the-ear, noise-cancellation headphones, lowering the volume, and much more.