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Sometimes when I play games that require a lot of focus (CS, Starcraft 2) after 10-20 minutes of game I notice that my eyes are red, from not blinking enough.

If this happens to you too how do you prevent this from happening?

I know I have to blink but it's hard to remember to do that every 15 seconds when you fight with 2 armies of Protoss and Zerg.


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Let technology help you, then: – DrFish Mar 14 '11 at 1:44
Wow, Bora, that looks like it could become really tiring after a while... – Ragnar Apr 11 '11 at 7:28
Eyes are overrated. Condition yourself to never have to blink; start with short periods of not blinking, and extend it by a little more time every day. Rumor has it that the korean sc2 pros never blink. They never have to breathe, either. – user8508 Apr 11 '11 at 8:29
up vote 7 down vote accepted

Try to keep your environment and yourself properly hydrated. (It's probably easier to keep your room/apartment/house whatever hydrated; drinking enough fluids while playing games like the ones you mentioned can cause other issues ...) If you're not blinking much as it is, dry air and dehydration can make things worse. Think about getting a humidifier that you can run during long sessions, and do what you can to keep fluids in without constantly having to go to the bathroom.

If you wear glasses or contacts and have the choice, wear glasses. Having contacts in will just make the symptoms you describe worse, because now you have to keep both your eyes and the contacts moist.

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Considering you only need about 2 liters of water a day to stay hydrated, toilet breaks shouldn't be an issue, unless you have bigger health problems than not blinking enough. – kotekzot Mar 12 '12 at 18:00

As silly as it sounds I will sometimes blink one eye at a time for a good long blink and I find I feel a lot better.

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+1 for thinking outside the box – Keaanu Apr 11 '11 at 17:51

You could give a try to F.lux.

This small software allows your computer to automatically decrease the gamma value of your screen, to match the luminosity of your environment.

And guess what? It's free of charge!

Good point: it's now avalaible for Windows, Linux and Mac!

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Though I'm not sure this really answers the question, this seems to be a very interesting program for gamers spending long hours in front of their computer. – Oak Mar 14 '11 at 9:57
@Oak: Of course it doesn't totally solve the problem, but it make it a little more comfortable. And since it's free, it can easily be suggested as a first step. Since he seems to be missing blink-reflex, maybe a better advice would be to consult an ophthalmologist, but (in france) it does take a six to eight months queue (don't know the delay and price in other countries), that's why it wasn't my first advice... – Lysarion Mar 14 '11 at 11:15
I have no problem with blinking myself, except when I play Guitar Hero ... it's just the intense focus, your brain wants to keep your eyelids out of the way or something :P – Matthew Read Mar 14 '11 at 14:25

I doubt that you stop blinking entirely, but it is common to blink less when using a computer. You have a few options:

  • Use glasses instead of contacts. Contacts tend to dry out eyes. Another poster mentioned this.
  • Use wetting eye drops (NOT VISINE). Some common brands are Celluvisc and Blink. The thick and gooey drops will keep your eyes wet for longer sessions, but leave residue around your eyes if you don't wash it off.
  • Humidifier would help if you are in a really dry area. Though you probably don't want to add too much moisture in an area with a lot of electronics.
  • It's possible that if your eyes are drying out that fast that you have some bacteria around your eyes that either slow the flow or reduce the quality of your tears. Daily warm compress and increasing fish oil intake can help with this. You might want to see an optometrist if you suspect this.

Of note, my wife is an optometrist. I have asked her a lot of questions about dry eye, since I have it, but I'm too lousy a patient to regularly follow her instructions. Let me know if you have any other questions and I'll see about asking her.

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I've never personally used them myself, but have you heard about GUNNAR Optiks glasses? They claim to help with eye fatigue, and other problems caused by starting at computer screens. It's not exactly a cheap option, they run around $80 and up for a pair.

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I wouldn't bother with these. We've already discussed them on Programmers' and the consensus is that they're not worth the money. – ChrisF Mar 14 '11 at 10:54
Good to know, thanks. – Doozer Blake Mar 14 '11 at 12:48

Get some eye drops. I found some in China town that are menthol (sounds weird but they are awesome) and they work perfect.

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My optometrist (wife), says these aren't good. They may feel good, but can cause damage in prolonged use. The same with Visine. Just a heads up. – Perishable Dave Mar 13 '12 at 4:34

From Dave DuPlantis's answer keep yourself hydrated make sure to drink plenty of fluids whilst gaming (I keep a couple of pint glasses of water on the table beside).

Then, keep a few slices of freshly cut onion beside you. That's guaranteed to keep your eyes moist and force you to blink regularly. Remember to cut a new slice of onion a few times during your session.

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