We’re less than 2 weeks away from the release of Sony’s new Playstation VR headset, and the whole world is starting to get excited. The device set a new record for the fastest Gamestop pre-order sellout back in August, and the device continues to gather anticipation as we get closer to release. With so many people getting their hands on these new virtual reality experiences though, some doctors are becoming worried that the incoming headset may be detrimental to people’s health.
With virtual reality headsets about to experience a real boom, we are setting up the next generation of gamers for some potentially serious eye problems,
says leading laser eye surgeon Dr David Allamby, clinical director of London’s Focus clinic.
Parents and younger people need to know the risks. With VR, we’re going to potentially see more and more people suffering from a lack of exposure to daylight – something which affects the way our eyes naturally grow and which can lead to short-sightedness, or ‘myopia’. And because VR prevents our eyes from naturally focusing at a far distance, this too can speed-up the progression of myopia.
Allamby also stresses the importance of our eyes having time to lubricate themselves. He mentions that users tend to blink much less often when immersed in virtual reality environments, since there is so much to see and not much reason to keep things out.
Many VR users have complained about dry eye or eye strain from wearing headsets, a condition exacerbated by the fact that some wearers, when in a stressful situation and immersed in a 3D action environment, simply neglect to blink as often as they should be to really lubricate the eye. And it’s not something to be taken lightly. Over a prolonged period of time, dry eye can lead to extreme pain, with sufferers sometimes describing it as being stabbed in their eyes.
While we have already fixed a significant amount of issues with virtual reality, there are still some things that need to be improved on. Many VR headset makers like HTC have created a 90fps minimum standard for reducing motion sickness, but there are still many people that have trouble making it through the experiences. Because of this, there has been a significant amount of research poured into new methods of sickness prevention, though we are still in the very early stages.
Sony’s Playstation VR headset is coming October 13th, so we’ll see how the public reacts to it after a couple of weeks.
Are you planning on picking up a headset? Let us know what you think.