A little girl wears VR goggles

Virtual reality headsets are becoming more and more popular with computer users, especially those who play video games. But is it healthy to have a screen that close to your eyes?

How do virtual reality goggles work?

Virtual reality, or VR, works by creating multiple displays that mimic a 3D environment. They are also programmed so that, when you move your head, the display moves, too. Finally, these goggles are designed to eliminate external visual stimuli.

Can VR goggles cause eyestrain?

Like with any screen or device, gazing at a VR display for too long can cause eyestrain. Eyestrain is caused by staring at something for a long period of time without blinking. This can cause your eyes to dry out. As with any screen, you should follow the 20-20-20 rule: after every 20 minutes staring at your computer, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. If you need, keep artificial tears near your computer so you can moisten your eyes.

Can VR goggles hurt my child’s development?

Many parents could understandably have concerns about VR goggles hurting their child’s visual growth. However, while no long-term studies have been completed, the American Academy of Ophthalmology says there is no evidence yet that this technology has an impact on children’s eyes.

Can VR goggles cause other eye conditions?

VR goggles are not known to cause worsening of vision or other eye conditions. However, people with conditions like strabismus or amblyopia may develop headaches if they use them for an extended period of time.

Do I need to wear my corrective lenses while using VR goggles?

Yes, you do still need to wear your glasses or contact lenses. VR goggles won’t make your vision worse, but they won’t make it better, either.

Thoughts from a CEENTA doctor

Vipul Shah, MD

“Virtual reality goggles can provide a new and exciting form of entertainment for both children and adults,” CEENTA Ophthalmologist Vipul Shah, MD, said. “However, as with all screen time, adults should take frequent breaks to prevent dryness and fatigue. Parents should continue to monitor and limit their child’s screen time as they consider appropriate, as much is still unknown about the effects of immersive and interactive screens on developing brains.”

If you have any concerns about your eyes, whether you play video games or not, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with a CEENTA doctor today.

This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. Dr. Shah practices in our Blakeney and Monroe offices. To schedule an appointment with him or any of CEENTA’s eye doctors, call 704-295-3000. You can also schedule an appointment online or through myCEENTAchart.


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