Are Virtual Reality Headsets Naughty or Nice for Your Eyes?

The biggest shopping season of the year is here and the latest in technology is once again topping everyone’s list! From AirPods to smart watches, retro turntables reconfigured for the 21st century or a gaming console that reimagines the Mario Brothers. And then there’s the gift that pushes us right into the mind-bending center of the future itself: the Virtual Reality (VR) Headset.

Whether you’re looking to immerse yourself in some dystopian primeval future aboard an alien spacecraft or simply become an auto mechanic for the afternoon, the all-encompassing, unnervingly immersive world that is virtual reality is a visceral indulgence that you can almost touch, taste, and feel, but is the multidimensional visual experience good for your eyes?

Possible Effects of VR on Your Eyes

The effects of too much time in front of the television or computer is already well known; blue light is emitted from all handheld electronic devices, desktop and laptop computers, and televisions. It is the shortest and highest energy wavelength of visible light and can cause damage to many parts of the eye if exposed for extended lengths of time.

VR headsets also expose the eyes to blue light, which at the very least can keep you up at night if used too close to bedtime, and at worst can have last effects on the macula, retina, and photoreceptors of the eye.

Probably the most obvious possible effect on your eyes from VR use is eye strain and fatigue. The world of virtual reality is intense with color, movement, and multidimensionality, not unlike reality reality! Even so, prolonged exposure to the rapidly changing dimensional fields, resolutions, and shifting perspectives can cause eye strain and fatigue. The best remedy being less time in virtual reality and more time in reality reality.

Another notable possible effect of too much time in the world of VR is cybersickness, or virtual reality sickness. Essentially a type of motion sickness, but since with VR you’re not actually moving, the VR environment rapidly alters your eye’s depth perception, which can cause motion sickness. People who typically experience motion sickness on a rollercoaster, train, or the back seat of cars are more susceptible to VR-induced motion sickness.

Virtual Reality: Naughty or Nice?

The reality is, virtual reality is like every other technology out there, it’s best used in moderation. Users should pay close attention to warnings and proper use guidelines that come with all VR devices and take what they say to heart. Take breaks, give your eyes time to rest and recover from what can be an overwhelming experience for both your mind and your eyes.

Virtual reality technology is advancing every day, with applications on the horizon that it may even be useful as a clinical tool in treating some vision problems! That said, we’re not quite there yet, so for now, a healthy dose of reality to balance out the virtual reality may be just what Santa ordered.

Virtual Reality at Optical Expressions