EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — Gaming is a prime example of why eye strain isn’t always associated with an underlying disease. Now, a new effort is underway to help protect the eyes of gamers of all ages.

A new screen time alliance has been formed involving the gaming industry and the American Optometric Association (AOA.)

How popular is gaming? An estimated 3 billion people do it. Everyone from young kids and teens to adults.

“I’m an open-world kind of gamer. I like just kind of just going out, taking my time, doing what I do,” Optometrist, Doctor James Compton said.

A gamer by night, Dr. Compton is an optometrist by day who’s seen his share of gamers experiences digital eye strain or what’s also called computer vision syndrome.

“I’m a gamer so I’m not here to shame gamers. I understand their lifestyle. I understand the habits,” Dr. Compton continued.

It’s estimated the average gamer logs nearly 8.5 hours of screen time per day, more than half of that time playing video games. All that screen time can come with consequences.

“Whether it’s dry eye. Whether it’s headaches. Whether it’s teary eyes, watery eyes,” Dr. Compton stated.

Blurred vision, too. Dr. Compton recommends to fellow gamers what’s called the 20/20/20 rule.

“Every 20 minutes, I encourage the patient just to take a 20-second break, a 20-second break where you’re looking at something that’s about 20 feet away. When your eyes are looking at things far, they relax. So what I’m trying to do is teach my patients how to relax their eyes if they’re spending hours upon hours on those devices,” Dr. Compton explained.

The American Optometric Association is trying to open eyes to the importance of eye health through a campaign called Eye Deserve More.

In addition, the AOA has partnered with the gaming industry to form the Screen Time Alliance.

“It’s an opportunity for us to educate the American public. Educating the American public about the importance of an annual in-person, comprehensive eye exam from a doctor of optometry,” Doctor Compton commented.

All this is to help preserve the precious gift of sight.

If you harm your vision now and you’re young, you’re asking for trouble.

How often you should get an eye exam depends on your age and overall eye health, something definitely worth a discussion with your optometrist.

For more information, visit the AOA website on how to better care for your eyes.