Developer Warns VR Headset Damaged Eyesight - TechAmok
Developer Warns VR Headset Damaged Eyesight - [briefly]
11:34 AM EDT - Jun,14 2020 - (2 comments)
Software developer Danny Bittman tweeted
about how he's convinced that his eyesight was damaged from wearing a VR headset for hours a day
. The BBC reports:
Danny Bittman, who has worked as a virtual reality developer for four years, suggested it could have affected his eyesight. "Just had my first eye doctor visit in three years. Now I'm very worried about my future VR use. I have a new eye convergence problem that acts like dyslexia. The doc, a headset owner, is convinced my VR use caused this. He said "these glasses we usually prescribe to 40-year-olds", he tweeted.
He went on to describe the problem: "My eyes jump when I read things like a screen or books. I've always had a small level of this but it's greatly intensified now. It's also linked to headaches and vertigo."
He said that the issue was about "prolonged use", and admitted that he could spend up to six hours a day wearing a headset, split into 30-minute sessions.
Ceri Smith-Jaynes, from the Association of Optometrists, told the BBC: "We currently do not have any reliable evidence that VR headsets cause permanent deterioration in eyesight in children or adults. There have been some studies looking into the effects of short-term use of VR headsets only; these did not reveal a deterioration in eyesight.
"However, some people do suffer from temporary symptoms such as nausea, dry, irritable eyes, headache or eyestrain. "
But she did have some advice about usage: "If you spend all day in VR without a break, you'll need time to readjust to the light and the different visual environment of the real world. I would suggest taking a five-to-ten minute break each hour, using that time to move about, blink and look out of a window, or take a short walk.
The key to understanding that is the quote from his doctor, "these glasses we usually prescribe to 40-year-olds." That's because EVERYONE develops presbyopia (aka "farsightedness"), if they live long enough. It's caused by the lens becoming too rigid for the muscles inside the eye to squeeze it sufficiently to allow it to properly focus up close. That's a normal consequence of aging, but it can also be brought on or accelerated (because presbyopia is progressive - the older you get, the worse it gets) by spending too many hours focusing on things at a close, unvarying distance over a long period of time.
The link between long hours of staring into a computer monitor and developing premature presbyopia is firmly enough established that the American Optometric Association calls the condition Computer Vision Syndrome [aoa.org] or, alternatively Digital Eye Strain. Wearing a VR headset for hours and hours every day would be even worse, because, when you're staring into a monitor, you still wind up looking down at your keyboard, or off to one side or the other while you're thinking about what you're looking at, and even those brief glances allow your eyes to change their focal length, however briefly. Wearing a VR headset, you literally have nowhere else to look, so your eyes' focal length never varies. It can't, because everything you're physically capable of looking at is, in reality, at exactly the same distance from your eyes ...
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