Last Updated on March 14, 2020 by Markeyus Franks
Virtual Reality headsets create a sense of presence while playing a game or watching a movie. They allow you to abstract from the outside world and go on a 3D journey. Many people ask if virtual reality headsets are harmful to vision. This question is very relevant for parents. Let’s find out how this gadget affects our eyes.
Can VR Headset hurt your eyes?
According to manufacturers, these gadgets are safe for the human eye if you use them following the instructions. Ophthalmologists agree with it. They state that the occasional use of the VR headset does not adversely affect the human organs of sight. At the same time, the duration of VR travel should be no more than 30 minutes per day.
Many people wonder if such headsets contribute to the development of myopia in children and adults because the display is close enough to the eyes. Ophthalmologists claim that the appearance of diseases in a person with a healthy visual system is possible only with prolonged and systematic immersion in virtual space. At the same time, the risk of myopia increases significantly.
There is also another question. How do VR headsets affect people with various refractive errors? A contraindication to the use of these devices is astigmatism. It is because the curvature of the spherical shape of the lens or cornea accompanies this disease and it does not allow us to build a 3D image.
As a result, visual aberrations occur that contribute to dizziness, blurred vision, the appearance of a headache, etc. Patients with nearsightedness and farsightedness can use these gadgets without restrictions. But it will be better to consult an ophthalmologist first.
It is impossible to be 100% sure whether virtual reality glasses spoil eyesight or not. The visual system of each person reacts differently to the perception of a 3D image.
How long should you use your VR?
To understand how virtual reality headsets harm your eyes, we first need to explain why they can do it? The answer is obvious – a prolonged watching at the display coupled with a low hertz monitor will sooner or later lead to eyesight deterioration. There are two factors responsible for it – the refresh rate of the screen (more is better) and the time of continuous focusing on one point (less is better).
Doctors agree that the adult person should not use VR headset for more than 30 minutes a day. More extended utilization can cause many unpleasant symptoms and problems with the eyes. And the children should not use VR for more than 10 minutes a day.
How to prevent eye damage?
The problem of the eye pain is exclusively physiological. While using the virtual reality headset, the eye is working in the close range for too long. It is unnatural. Our vision developed for other purposes. The eyes rest when you are looking into the distance.
The longer you use the VR headset, the bigger the pressure on the eye’s accommodation. It is the natural ability of the eye to see at different distances. If you do not take breaks, accommodation ability suffers.
To prevent eye damage, you should follow the instructions of manufacturers and doctor’s advice. Do not use VR headsets longer than 30 minutes a day, and try to avoid using it every day. Take short breaks when playing VR games as it allows your eyes to rest.
Look out the window and look at the furthest point. So you will return the eyes to the resting state. Do not ignore eye exercises. You can do circular movements, gaze into the darkness, and do a light facial massage.
Are VR Headsets safe for kids?
Headsets manufacturers set age limits up to 12 years. The use of such a gadget by a younger child can lead to the development of pathologies (mainly myopia), as well as other negative consequences. It can cause disruption of the vestibular apparatus and all kinds of mental disorders, stress.
The child’s nervous system cannot quickly adapt to a large amount of virtual content. After wearing a headset, a young child may experience symptoms such as disorientation in space, dizziness, vomiting, and other unpleasant sensations. Therefore, it is better to refuse buying the device for children under 12 years old.
VR headsets create a feeling of complete immersion in the virtual world due to visual and acoustic effects. Because of this, a person may partially lose the perception of reality, fall, and hurt himself. To prevent it, children should use those gadgets only with adults.
Besides, constant use affects the emotional state. Children’s activity decreases, and the risk of depression rises. Therefore, it is better to use the gadget not more than 5-7 minutes per day.
What are the symptoms you can get from VR?
Most experts claim that the device is safe, but there is an alternative opinion. Scientists from a British ophthalmic company Focus say that such VR headsets contribute to the appearance of dry eye disease (keratitis) and lead to rapid eye exhaustion.
Also, a vision deterioration, myopia, farsightedness, and astigmatism can occur. So it is advisable to limit the use of the headset and test your eyesight regularly.
You can have those symptoms when you are watching TV or PC monitor, and VR is the monitor too. Therefore, it affects your vision in the same way as a smartphone or computer. To prevent eye dryness, doctors recommend using moisturizing eye drops.
It is hard to be sure if the VR headsets can hurt your eyes or not. Manufacturers claim that its use is safe for adults and children aged 12 and over. However, they also do not recommend using VR if you have such symptoms as dizziness, vomiting, or disorientation in space.
Also, it is better not to utilize the VR headset for more than 30 minutes a day. And do not let your children using VR without your control, as they can hurt themselves. Young kids should not use the gadget at all, or
you need to limit its use to 5-7 minutes a day.
To prevent unpleasant symptoms, you may do eye exercises and take short breaks. It allows your eyes to relax.