VR is the use of computers to create an entirely immersive environment for the user. It may be used to create three-dimensional interactive experiences, but interactivity isn’t necessary. Using it can be an exciting and fun experience however, you still need to be careful while using it.
Let’s look into the details of how long should you play VR.
How Long Should I Play VR?
It’s generally agreed upon that you can use your head-mounted display (HMD) for one hour at a time, then it’s best to give yourself a 15-minute break before jumping back into it.
What Is Considered VR?
A VR system uses a headset that tracks your eyes and head movement. It may also include other peripheral devices (such as gloves) to simulate additional sense inputs.
Some common applications of VR include
- Education, including experiental simulations to help students understand key concepts
- Vocational training, which includes hands-on simulation of specific tasks and work environments
- Mental healthcare, physical rehabilitation, and vision therapy
- Entertainment, including video games, movies, TV shows, and other forms of entertainment
Augmented Reality (AR) projects virtual elements into the real world, adding new images and interactive features to the physical space around you.
Virtual Reality (VR) provides an entirely new experience that is totally virtual and has no connection to your real world.
Effects of VR on Your Eyes
VR use is associated with the following eye problems:
- Eye strain
- Dry eyes
- Visually induced motion sickness
- Heterophoria (when the eyes point in different directions at rest)
All four problems get worse over the long term. They also tend to get worse over the long run.
VR Headsets and Eye Strain
Long-term exposure to VR devices may lead to eyestrain. Symptoms of eyestrain usually become worse the longer you use VR devices without taking breaks.
Some scientists believe that VR headsets may cause eyestrain because they’re so close to the user’s eyes when worn.
Manufacturers are experimenting with different headset designs and lens options to mitigate the effect of this issue.
Problems Caused by Eye Strain
Some of the problems associated with eye stress include
- Eye pain
- Neck, shoulder, and back pain
- Light sensitivity
- Double vision
- Blurry vision
- Dry eyes
- Itchy eyes
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty keeping your eyes open
These issues are temporary, but they will disappear when your eye has had time to recover.
How to Avoid Eye Strain?
To minimize your risks of eye strain, use these tips.
Blink More Frequently.
Blinking keeps your eyes moist and prevents dry eye symptoms from developing.
Taking breaks between periods of using VR devices will help keep your eyes healthy.
Use Artificial Tears
These lubricating eye drop supplements can help supplement your own natural tear production and keep your eyes from becoming dehydrated.
Use your glasses or contact lenses when using VR.
If you use this device without your corrective eyewear, your vision will be forced to work harder and increase the risk of developing eye strain.
Dry Eyes and VR
VR headsets have been shown to cause people to blink less often and lead to dry eyes due to the increased focus required to understand the images displayed by the headset.
Dry eye symptoms are often associated with computer usage, but research has shown that using VR headsets could cause them even more frequently than other forms of digital media.
A 2020 study found that using VR technology for two continuous hours resulted in more severe dry eye symptoms compared to using a smartphone for the same duration.
Children and VR
There is no current evidence that shows that using VR has any negative effects on kids’ vision. However, there isn’t enough scientific research yet to say for sure whether VR has any positive effects either.
It’s important to follow manufacturer recommendations when using VR systems. Doing so ensures that your child’s eyes remain healthy during VR usage.
If you want to avoid any potential negative effects of VR on your eyes, limit your time spent playing games and watching movies in VR to no longer than an hour per day.
When to See a Doctor
If you experience any lingering effects from using VR, contact your ophthalmologist immediately. You may have an undiagnosed medical condition that needs treatment before you return to VR.
How VR May Benefit Eyes?
Researchers are investigating the use of VR as a clinical treatment for vision problems. Studies are currently underway to see if VR can help people with poor eye-to-brain connections.
Because VR projects an entirely new view in front of each eye (rather than just one), many doctors are most interested in using VR for treating binocular vision problems.
Applications such as VIVID Vision are available for download and are currently being used by vision therapists across the United States. They can help people who suffer from conditions such as:
Strabismus (Crossed Eyes)
Convergence insufficiency (eyes that cannot work together to focus on objects that are close to them)
Depth Perception Problems
VR is also being used as a potential treatment for Amblyopia (Lazy Eye).
VR is usually used alongside other therapies, such as eye patching or special glasses. It’s rarely used as a stand-alone therapy for any eye condition.
As more studies are conducted to determine whether VR has any real benefits for patients, this may change.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do VR headsets harm your eyes?
There is currently no scientific evidence that prolonged exposure to VR can cause permanent eye damage. However, some studies have linked prolonged exposure to VR to the development of heterophoria, a disorder that causes your eyes to be out of alignment when you’re not using VR.
If this condition causes long-term visual problems, then you can treat them by wearing prisms or doing some form of visual training.
Will VR make you blind?
No, VR headsets can cause eyestrain if used for too long, but this is temporary and not permanent.
How long should you spend playing VR each day?
Most manufacturers recommend that people use VR systems for no longer than 30 minutes at a go. If you take breaks every 30 minutes, you could play as long as you want.
If you’re still experiencing symptoms after taking the suggested break from VR, don’t use it again until you feel better.
The future of VR looks promising. As new technology emerges, the quality of the VR experience continues to improve.
With VR becoming more accessible, we anticipate that its benefits will extend beyond entertainment and education into health care and other fields.
We hope that this guide will help you understand the risks associated with using VR and provide information that will allow you to make informed choices when deciding whether to use VR.
If you have any questions feel free to comment below.