Keratoconus: Video Games & Adapting To Vision Issues

In October 2018, I was diagnosed with a progressive eye disease called Keratoconus. To put it simply, my cornea isn’t a round shape anymore. Over time, it became cone-shaped and if I didn’t seek treatment, it would’ve gotten worse and my vision would’ve deteriorated further.

Keratoconus won’t leave you completely blind, but your vision will deteriorate to the extent that’ll cause difficulties within your life if you don’t seek treatment.

At the time of this post, I have had a Corneal Cross-Linking procedure, this video by Moorfields Hospital will explain that.

The image shown above is not far from what I see without my glasses on. My glasses do a good job helping me see, but my vision will never improve.

I love video games and I’ve been gaming since 1995, from the SNES up until now. After my diagnosis, I was worried about how it would affect my hobbies. My life revolves around screens, I write for Esports Wales, I run this blog, gaming is a big part of my life.
What could I do without these things?

Fortunately, the extent of the deterioration of my vision hasn’t made gaming impossible, but some aspects of it have become difficult.
I’ve made some changes to my setup, gameplay and I am learning to adapt as I go.

My old setup (2015)

This was my old setup and I could barely see what was going on when I was sat feet away from it. When I would play games, visually it would feel like I was on a delay. Having a delay in gameplay can delay your reaction times, which is detrimental more so in competitive games such as Rainbow Six: Siege, for example.
My glasses have helped me a little in that regard, but it’s still taking some time to adapt.

I’ve since purchased a smaller TV that has helped me a lot. The smaller screen is kinder to my eyes, there doesn’t seem to be as much input delay on this tv and it doesn’t strain my eyes trying to take everything in the objective of a game visually.
I still have my larger TV, which is just used by Ben for his games.

A thrifty setup!

My setup isn’t anything special, I’ve been putting my money towards adult things, bills, moving, but it works for me and that’s the main thing.
Of course, this will be a trial and error thing until I find what’s right for my abilities.

One thing I now struggle with in-game is the level of darkness and brightness of an area.
If it’s too bright, it’ll hurt my eyes. What I find worse are darker areas. In the screenshot of Modern Warfare remastered that I’ve shared below, I can barely see a thing. I don’t know how it looks to others, but this type of lighting is horrible for me.

Darkness there and nothing more…

I have to tinker with the brightness settings a lot these days. I have the colour blind settings on in this game, fought with the brightness, and I still struggle to see in this type of environment, which as you can imagine, makes games like Siege a bit of a pain on the darker maps, especially if there are operators are equipped with darker uniforms and headgears, 8 times out of 10, that’s a wrap.

Props to Ubisoft for adding accessibility to Watchdogs: Legion as shown in the image below. In time, I hope developers expand on this because disorders can vary.

How have you adapted to any struggles you have?

Thank you for your time, I appreciate you being here!
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