Are VR Headsets Safe for Eyes?

Serving Poughkeepsie, Yorktown and Nearby Areas of the Hudson Valley

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Virtual reality (VR) headsets are relatively new. As such, the long-term impacts of routine use of VR headsets is not clearly established. There is some evidence that doing near work – on tablets, phones, and similar devices – may contribute to myopia, even in adults. This may suggest that using a VR headset frequently would increase risks for nearsightedness, but there is no established link.

It should be noted, however, that VR headsets are not intended for frequent use by children. The unusual visual posture required for VR headset use can impact the development of depth perception and other visual skills – and may lead to the development of refractive errors.

How Do VR Headsets Work?

VR headsets may contain two LCD screens that work in tandem to produce the illusion of depth or a single screen with two feeds to achieve the same effect. In both instances, a lens in between the feed and the eyes serves to produce a stereoscopic 3D image.

The experience you have while wearing a VR headset would not be nearly as immersive if the pictures did not move with you. To accommodate this, head tracking enables the user to see in depth in all directions. The experience is rounded out with surround sound stereo, enabling the user to become completely lost in a different space. Just don’t stay there too long, that can lead to serious eyestrain.

VR Headsets and Eyestrain CTA

Virtual Reality Headsets & Eyestrain

Eyestrain caused by VR headsets may be marked by symptoms including:

  • Stinging
  • Burning
  • General irritation
  • Grittiness
  • Dryness
  • Redness
  • Itchiness

Blurry vision may also be a sign of VR headset-related eyestrain.

If you experience discomfort or changes in vision while using a VR headset, take it off and take a break. One of the best ways to combat screen-related eyestrain is to get away from screens for a while.

What About Motion Sickness?

When you are wearing a VR headset, your brain is receiving the same visual information it would be if you were actually moving. Sometimes, this confuses the body and creates dizziness and nausea similar to motion sickness.

There are various ways to counter motion sickness brought about by real and virtual circumstances. As with fatigue and eyestrain, one of the most effective, when the issue is related to VR, is to unplug for a bit.

Virtual Reality and Optometry

VR headsets have shown some very promising results when used clinically for vision therapy. VR headsets are now being used in optometry to address:

  • Amblyopia
  • Visual processing
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Depth perception
  • Reaction time
  • Visual acuity

The clinical uses of VR are only now being explored. The technology may prove useful in other ways, as well, as new developments occur.

Contact Seeta Eye Centers

Always on the cutting edge of technology, our ophthalmologists are dedicated to providing the safest and most effective treatments to every patient we see. If you are in need of an eye doctor in Poughkeepsie, Yorktown, or surrounding areas of New York, please call Seeta Eye Centers at 845-454-1025 and schedule a consultation today.