Are VR Headsets Bad for Your Eyes?

If you’ve ever heard the claim that if you sit too close to a TV screen, you’ll damage your eyesight, then you may wonder if you should be concerned about VR headsets. After all, these headsets are made up of two lenses designed to sit inches away from your eyes. As this equipment becomes more popular, more and more people are asking, “Are virtual reality headsets bad for your eyes?” The answer is a bit more complex than a simple “yes” or “no,” but if you plan to spend a lot of time in VR, there are a few things you should look out for.

VR Headsets

Potential Side Effects of VR Use

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, wearing VR headsets can cause eye strain, discomfort, eye fatigue, and blurred vision. This is due to the fact that we tend to blink less when using a device with digital screens, which is the leading cause behind things like eye strain or fatigue. This issue isn’t unique to VR headsets: It’s no different if you spend long periods of time in front of any screen, like a television or computer. The good news, though, is that while complaints of eye strain are common after playing in VR for long periods of time, the AAO’s research has found that there is no evidence of vision deterioration or serious eye issues that stem from virtual reality.

In order to cut down on issues related to eye strain, it’s best to follow the warnings listed by your headset’s manufacturer and limit time spent in the virtual world. Stop using the device if you start experiencing eye twitching, blurred vision, or double vision. These issues are more likely to pop up for children and younger people, whose eyes are still developing.

Another common issue associated with the use of VR headsets is motion sickness, which can be caused by a disconnect between what your eyes see and what your body feels. This can cause trouble focusing, headaches, lightheadedness, drowsiness, sweating, nausea, and/or vomiting. Virtual reality headsets have had this issue since the earliest models reached the market, but it is getting better as technology improves.

Are There Any Vision Benefits From Using Virtual Reality?

While VR is not known for making people’s vision better, some health professionals have found that virtual reality tools can be used to improve depth perception, reaction time, hand-eye coordination, and visual acuity. Research on the use of VR for visually impaired people is ongoing, but the results have been promising so far.

The key thing to remember when it comes to VR and your vision is that these headsets, like other forms of technology, should be used in moderation. If you feel like your eyes are becoming tired while using a VR headset, take a step back and find something else to do for a little while that doesn’t involve screens.