Tech Lowdown: what's worse for your eyes? VR or Smartphone?
More and more people are getting immersed into the world of VR. However, should we be concerned with the damage that VR can cause to our eyesight?
It's a genuine issue because of the close distance of the screen to your eyes. People tend to wear VR headsets for only a short period, so we can’t determine whether it damages our eyesight because of limited data samples.
However, we can make a comparison between VR glasses and smartphone screens to judge whether they are bad for our eyesight.
We review the major ways that VR headsets can damage our eyes:
1. HEV (high-energy visible light)
Too much high-energy light for too long may cause permanent damage to the retina. But do VR headsets push too much light into our eyes?
According to the results of research, the maximum brightness of a VR headset is about 1019 Lux – this is similar to walking in a well-lit supermarket. Based on this, the brightness level of a VR headset is fine.
Staring at close objects for excessively long periods of time can cause myopia. Is this the case for VR? You may think so, but it’s actually not.
Although the VR screen is only a couple of inches away, the VR lens is designed to bend the light in such a way that the projected virtual image is actually at a distance or even at infinity.
Our eyes don't focus on the screen, but focus on these virtual images at a distance. So, short-sightedness should not be a concern.
Compared to smartphones, lots of people are holding their smartphone far too close for far too long time. VR headsets do not have this problem.
Limited by their form factor, VR lenses often suffer from strong distortion, especially in the peripheral area. Human eyes will try very hard to correct this distortion, which creates tension and sometimes even nausea.
The resolution of this problem requires both hardware and software solutions. We would love to see Google, Facebook, Samsung, HTC and other headset manufacturers try harder to reduce the distortion.
So, to sum up: I don't think VR headsets do more harm as a smartphone to your eyes. We can enjoy our VR worlds to their full potential.
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