As PlayStation 4 owners across the globe prepare for their own affordable VR endeavor with PlayStation VR, leading eye doctors aren’t so sold on the idea of VR headsets. Laser eye surgeon Dr. David Allamby of London’s Focus Clinic is extremely apprehensive about what VR could stir up with eye problems. He’s especially concerned that VR will create more cases of short-sightedness in young people.
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
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.
Dr. Allamby also mentioned that VR cause cause dry eye or eye strain from wearing the headsets. Dry eye is caused from not blinking as often as one should, which is a heightened risk when immersed in a 3D environment. He explained that over time, dry eye can be extremely painful.
He then cautioned that how the headset conveys depth perception can alter how your eyes naturally focus on objects at various differences.
VR headsets contain two small digital screens, each projected at one eye, creating a stereoscopic effect to create an illusion of depth.
The closeness of these to the eyes over intense long periods of use could lead to severe vision strain or neurological issues and needs to be better understood.
Dr. Allamby noted that myopia cases of young people have doubled over the last 30 years in the UK, which he attributes to the smartphone boom, tablets, and fewer children playing outside in natural light. He fears that this will only worsen with the introduction of VR.
If that wasn’t enough, recent research out of the University of California Los Angeles found that when exposing virtual experiences to rats, 60% of the brain cells in the hippocampus of the brain “shut down.”
Will any of this info give you pause about VR? Or is it still full-steam ahead?