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Virtual reality headsets and eyesight: tips to follow

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Marketed since 2016, virtual reality (VR) headsets offer an extraordinary experience. With graphical performances of sometimes surprising quality, they allow the cinema, the television or the video games to reach a realism without equal. However, with all new technology, health-related questions and, in the case of these headsets, visual health issues arise. Here are some tips to follow to limit some potentially harmful effects.

Decoupling between accommodation and convergence

3D technology uses the concepts of accommodation and convergence , that is, our eye will focus by fixing a target object, and in order to see a single image, the eyes go on converge towards this point. The risk is, in case of high use of a virtual reality headset , constantly squinting. If it is more uncomfortable than dangerous, the fact that the eyes follow an object that gives the impression of approaching or moving away (when in reality it is still on the screen) will cause a decoupling between accommodation and convergence , all to keep the image as clear as possible. If, to date, there is no concrete scientific study to analyze potential damage to the eyes, this "gymnastics" of the eye could prove tiring in case of heavy use.

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Stride the blue light even closer

The introduction of OLED displays on the market has revealed the danger of blue light for the retina. The toxicity of the shades of blue is hampered by the distance and the reduction of the duration of exposure. In the case of virtual reality headsets, the screen is less than 5 centimeters from the eyes, and exposure is often very long, especially when playing a video game. As a bonus, the effects of blue light are even more dangerous for children and precautions must of course be taken to protect their eyes.

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Some tips to limit damage

As a first step, it is important to compare different models of virtual reality headsets on the market. Logically, it is advisable to focus on high-end models at low-cost . Whenever possible, OLED screens , which are the most harmful to the eyes, should be avoided.

Finally, while the instructions for use recommend breaks of 15 to 20 minutes every hour , Ophthalmologists are much more restrictive: they advise not to exceed 1 hour of daily use for an adult, and 15 minutes for a child.