Do you want to know how bad VR is for your eyes?
Let’s find out
How Bad is VR for Your Eyes?
While VR may be harmful to your eyes, making sure you’re taking care of them daily can help prevent any potential issues. As with anything else, just as we spend our days using technology, we should also take the necessary steps to keep ourselves healthy.
How Does Virtual Reality Work?
VR has existed for decades in its current format. It began as early as the 1960s when it was first used to create immersive experiences using panoramic paintings, cinema, and stereoscopic photography.
Nowadays, when we talk about virtual reality, we mean a realistic and interactive 3D world that is experienced through the use of computers.
Users can explore and experience the illusion of being physically present in a virtual reality environment.
Virtual Reality System
A virtual reality (VR) headset consists of two parts: a head-mounted
- A head-worn device that resembles a welding helmet.
- A device that generates three-dimensional (3D) images using software
- A headphone jack plug that connects your headset to your device
- A device that tracks user inputs, including sensors and haptics (touch)
A virtual reality (VR) system aims to create an immersive virtual and auditory experience by using a head-mounted device (HMD). It uses a combination of visual displays and audio technologies.
Each VR headset has two screens— one for each eye— creating a stereoscopic effect that makes users feel they’re looking at something from three dimensions.
The screens are adjusted automatically by focusing lenses according to each individual’s eyesight or position.
Possible Effects of VR On Your Eyes
As most VR (virtual reality) players use it for long periods, the concerns are magnified. Some players have even experienced negative side effects after using it for a short period of time.
When we use VR, we alter our normal perception of things by tricking our eyes and brain at the same time. To understand why this happens, let’s look.
It helps your brain understand what you’re seeing by having your head constantly moving back and forth. In virtual reality, when you look straight ahead, your vision converges; when you turn your head, your vision diverges.
If you use VR, this change in how your eyes work could cause problems.
There are some very common ones, including:
Eye Fatigue or Eye Strain
When people use VR devices, they often complain about eye strain. The main reason for this is that the brain doesn’t process images naturally when wearing a VR device.
Field of view (FOV)
Most VR headset lenses are designed for a field of vision of around 180 degrees.
Wide Refractive View
Additionally, rather than a wide field of vision, the focus is on an extremely small screen that is close to your eye. This disparity makes the task of determining where objects are placed even harder, placing extra stress on your eye muscles.
However, if you feel any discomfort when using a VR headset, take a break for a few minutes. If you continue to experience discomfort after a short rest period, contact an ophthalmologist immediately.
Visually Induced Motion Sickness
This is also called cyber-sickness, and it is very common to people who already suffer from motion sickness or vertigo. When your mind gets a signal that your body is actually doing something when it isn’t, you get dizzy.
For instance, if you’re playing a game in which you run around an environment, your brain might trick you into thinking you’re really moving when you’re not. This makes you feel dizzy because your vision tells you that you’re standing still, but your ears tell you that you’re moving.
If you experience dizziness when playing VR games, then you may be experiencing motion sickness.
Your balance is controlled primarily by a sensory apparatus called the vestibular organ, which helps maintain your equilibrium.
This system coordinates multiple sensory signals, including head movements, eye movements, and even body movements. However, wearing a VR device can cause these signals to be confused.
When using a VR headset, you may experience some confusion between visual and vestibular sensations. For example, if you’re looking at something moving, but your head isn’t moving, then your brain might think that you’re actually moving. This could cause you to feel dizzy.
Eye or Muscle Twitching
Rapid changes in lighting and motion can cause damage to the eyes. In most VR simulations, these changes happen quickly, so the eyes need to be able to adapt quickly too.
Exposure to this long-term could cause damage to the eyes if they’re not used to moving quickly.
Does VR Usage Have Any Benefits?
While most of the news about virtual realities and the eyes has been bad, there are some potential uses for VR headsets. Here are just a few examples:
- VR headsets can be used to treat children who suffer from amblyopia (laziness).
- VR can help identify early eye problems, particularly for children, so they can be treated with corrective eyewear.
- It can improve hand-to-eyeball (or eye-hand) coördination, which is useful for jobs that require it.
- VR can be a helpful training tool for the eyesight of some individuals who have poor depth perception or nearsighted vision.
VR isn’t all doom and gloom, and developers are working hard to improve the technology so that people don’t get sick from using it.
For example, top virtual reality (VR) headsets such as the Oculus Go 2 include lenses that help reduce blue lights and minimize eyestrain.
VR, like any new tech, has both pros and cons. However, when used properly, it has the potential to be an era-defining tech. The key to avoiding vision issues is to moderate its usage.
If you have any questions feel free to comment below.