Virtual Reality Headsets
Do Virtual Reality Headsets Have an Effect on Your Vision?
Good vision makes life enjoyable and gives you the ability to keep yourself safe throughout the day. Tech devices like VR headset might help you travel to new worlds, but without good vision, you won’t be able to enjoy the world where you actually live.
Have you ever seen a video of a person with a virtual reality (VR) headset on dodging or moving erratically as they try to avoid the images they see? VR is an immersive technology that makes it possible to experience anything with ease. Through the use of a headset with a mounted display and headphones, VR convinces your brain that it is somewhere it really isn’t.
Being submerged into a simulated three-dimensional world where you feel like you are flying, running through the Sahara desert, or swimming deep in the ocean sounds exciting. However, before you place that headset over your eyes for hours on end, you might want to consider how these close-up, powerful images can affect your vision.
How Did We Get Here?
The earliest attempt at creating an illusion that makes your brain think you are somewhere you aren't, dates back to the 360-degree murals of the nineteenth century. Since that time, many devices have tried to simulate flight or connect you to a computer to perfect this immersive illusion. VR as we know it today started in the 1990s when virtual group arcade machines intrigued children and adults and additions to gaming consoles were developed, like the Sega VR headset.
Today, VR isn’t only for gaming. It’s been changing the way marketers are conducting research for many years. It’s projected that by the year 2020 the VR market will be worth a whopping $30 billion in revenue.
In-store simulations have been happening since the early 1990s when companies like Procter & Gamble, Frito Lay, and ConAgra Foods experimented with various VR methods. By 2007, 3D store simulation technology was being used as marketing research and business development tools. Virtual testing is a costly way to do market research, but the control, efficiency, and thoroughness of the data gathered appears to outweigh the cost.
VR Headsets 101
VR headsets create a 3D virtual environment that goes beyond the screen. They show each of your eyes a slightly different image so that you perceive depth when watching the screen. Lenses are placed between your eyes and the pixels which alter the focus and reshapes the picture for each eye, creating a stereoscopic 3D image.
The headset also uses “head tracking” which shifts the view in front of you as you move your head in different directions, like up, down, or side-to-side. All of this together creates an experience that makes you feel like you are in the environment being presented.
Are VR Devices Safe for Your Eyes?
Do you remember when you were little, and your mom would tell you that if you kept watching TV or playing video games, you would go blind? Well, she might have been on to something. While you aren’t likely to lose your vision from too much VR, you can suffer from pretty uncomfortable side effects. Because VR technology is relatively new, there is limited research on the long-term effects of use. However, we do know a few things about how it works and affects your eyesight.
Not Suitable for Children Under Age 12
Most manufacturers place age limits on the use of VR devices. Some people believe that the age limit is related to the content more than the potential effects on your eyes. You should certainly be aware of the content your children are watching, but there is some debate about the impact of VR on the growth and development of young eyes.
If you do let the young people in your life use a VR device, be sure to set limits on how long they play with any VR headset. Kids aren’t good at recognizing the symptoms of eye strain before it turns into pain. Very young children should be limited to just a few minutes of use each day. For older children, a good rule of thumb is to take a 10-minute break for every hour of use.
The Risk of Eye Strain and Fatigue
You tend to blink less when looking at a digital device. Staring at a VR screen for a prolonged time may cause eye strain and fatigue. Your eyes might feel sore, tired, or even a slight burning sensation.
This stress can also cause blurred or double vision and soreness in your shoulders and neck. Too much time staring at the VR screen can also lead to common eye problems that cause headaches. It’s critical that you recognize these symptoms and take a break to keep from causing any serious side effects or damage.
Keeping Your Eyes Healthy
Eye health is a critical component to living a full and satisfied life. If you don’t take care of your eyes, you might end up in a world full of blurry images or one where you can’t see at all. To avoid both of these situations, you should follow these tips for healthy vision.
Limit Screen Time
Too much screen time is bad for your eyes. When setting safe screen time limits, you must keep in mind all of the devices you and your kids use, which might include time at work or school. Be sure to take frequent breaks from VR devices. It’s recommended to take a 10-minute break for every one hour of screen time.
Schedule Eye Exams
You might think that eye exams are only for people who wear contacts or glasses. However, everyone should have a yearly assessment to obtain a baseline and check for general eye health. Doctors can even check your overall health status by getting a good look at the inside of your eyes for changes.
Have you ever considered how your diet affects your vision? Eating a diet with plenty of fruits and veggies is an excellent way to support healthy eyesight because these foods are packed with Vitamins A, C, and E. Easy ways to increase your intake of fruits and vegetables include adding in a serving of each at every meal. Make a smoothie full of berries and spinach for breakfast and add a salad to your lunch and dinner to get optimal benefits.
Protecting Your Vision
Good vision makes life enjoyable and gives you the ability to keep yourself safe throughout the day. Tech devices like VR might help you travel to new worlds, but without good vision, you won’t be able to enjoy the world where you actually live.