The effect of virtual reality headsets on the eyes

Jul 31, 2018Research, Technology & Vision

Virtual reality (VR) is becoming mainstream, but we do not know the effects of VR on the body – or the eyes. VR headsets display stereoscopic images on a screen which is just centimetres from the eyes, which is then viewed through high powered spectacle lenses. We already know that near work thins the choroid (a risk factor for short-sightedness), but this unique optical arrangement may place other stresses on the visual system as well.

Our results showed that a 40-minute VR exposure was no worse for the eyes than an equivalent real-world task, as there were no significant changes in binocular vision. Unexpectedly, we observed an increase in choroidal thickness after VR, which would be expected with a stimulus that protects against short-sightedness.

Author: Dr Phil Turnbull


Collaborator: Dr John Phillips

Status: Published