Are VR Headsets Bad for Your Eyes?
If you’ve heard that sitting too close to a TV screen can damage your eyesight, VR headsets may be a concern. Since these headsets have two lenses a few inches from your eyes,
VR headsets are getting increasingly popular, but we can’t help but wonder: Are VR headsets bad for your eyes? Putting the phone screen so close to your eyes and then wearing the VR headsets, your eyes in a completely dark environment, won’t this affect your vision? The answer is more complicated than “yes” or “no,” but if you spend a lot of time in VR, there are several things to watch out for.
What Are VR Headsets?
Virtual reality (VR) headsets are devices you use to fully experience a virtual reality world. Most of the time, they comprise a head-mounted display (HMD) that covers your eyes and shows you a computer-made virtual world.
The VR headset blocks people’s eyes and ears from the outside world and makes them feel like they are in a virtual world. The left and right eye screens show pictures of the left and right eyes, respectively. The human eye sees these images differently, giving the mind a sense of three dimensions. In general, there are three VR headsets: external headsets, headsets built into the computer, and mobile headsets.
Are VR Headsets Bad for Your Eyes?
Every coin has two sides. Properly using VR headsets has some positive effects on your eyes, but long-term abuse of VR headsets will have adverse effects on your eyes.
Potential Negative Effects
If you play VR in a normal way for a short amount of time, it usually doesn’t hurt your eyes. But playing VR for a long time could cause several bad things, like eye fatigue, visual impairment, etc.
- Eye strain and fatigue: When you use VR for a long time, it can make your eyes tired. This is because you have to keep focusing on close virtual objects, which can make your eyes feel uncomfortable, dry, red, and blurry.
Tip: Regular breaks and following the 20-20-20 rule (looking at an item 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes) can help relieve eye strain.
- Vergence-accommodation conflict: VR can conflict with your eyes’ vergence and accommodation. Virtual things may appear farther away than they are, which can induce eyestrain, headaches, and depth perception issues. But over time, many people find ways to deal with this tension.
- Dry eyes: When people are really into a VR experience, they blink less, making their eyes dry. If you don’t blink enough, your eyes can dry, irritate, and feel gritty. Remember to keep your eyes moist. It’s important to blink often and, if necessary, use tear drops.
- Motion sickness and dizziness: Some people who use VR glasses may feel sick, dizzy, or sick to their stomachs. People’s signs of motion sickness can vary in how bad they are, including eyestrain, sweating, feeling lost, and general discomfort. These symptoms can be lessened by taking breaks, beginning with shorter VR sessions, and slowly getting used to them.
- Impact on pre-existing conditions: People with eye problems like strabismus (when the eyes don’t align) or amblyopia (lazy eye) may feel more pain or trouble using VR headsets.
Most of the bad things mentioned above are temporary, and you can lessen their effects by taking breaks, adjusting the headset properly, ensuring the room has enough light, and not using VR too much. You should see an eye doctor if you are in pain or have symptoms that don’t go away.
Potential Positive Effects
But not all of the news is bad. When used the way an optometrist tells you to, some VR headsets can help you grow and improve your vision. Here are a few:
- Amblyopia (lazy eye)
- Depth perception
- Hand-eye coordination
- Reaction time
- Eye coordination
- Visual memory
How to Protect Eyes When Using VR Headsets?
To protect your eyes when using VR, consider the following tips:
- Choose the right VR headsets: If you’re going to buy VR headsets, ensure you get the right ones. Try it on yourself before getting it to see how it feels and works.
- Adjust the headband: When wearing VR headsets, ensure the headband is tight but not too tight so that it doesn’t put too much pressure on the head.
- Adjust the distance between the lenses: To get a more comfortable view, you have to change how far apart the lenses are so they are the same distance from your pupils.
- Change the settings for the display: This way, the projected images won’t be too bright.
- Getting used to VR: You might feel dizzy when you first put on VR headsets. It’s best to start with simple, low-intensity scenes and slowly get used to the VR environment. Also, avoid moving your head around too much during the event.
- Proper rest: If you wear VR headsets for long, your eyes may get tired. So, it’s best to take a break every so often (for example, every 30 minutes) and remove your glasses. You should also keep indoor air moving and the light bright.
- Blink on purpose: This keeps your eyes from getting dry and tired.
- Do a gentle circle massage around the eyes and temples after your VR session or while waiting for it to load.
- Keep VR headsets clean: Use lens cleaner and a soft cloth to wipe your glasses down often.
Following these tips can help protect your eyes and ensure your VR experience is comfortable and fun.
1. Can children play VR?
Yes! Children can play VR, but parents should monitor their experience because they may be uncomfortable. Also, give them regular eye breaks while using VR.
2. How long can adults and children play VR a day?
For adults, take breaks every 30 minutes to 1 hour.
For children, take a break every 15-30 minutes or so.
3. Can VR headsets cause permanent damage to the eyes?
VR headsets have not been shown to damage the eyes permanently.
Any time a new product comes out, we must consider how it might affect our health, such as”Are VR headsets bad for your eyes?” VR headsets don’t hurt your eyes as much as you might think, but you still have to learn how to use them scientifically, and you should avoid using them for a long time.