Is Virtual Reality Safe? Understanding the Risks and Benefits of VR Headsets

Russell Kidson
Feb 24, 2023
Updated • Feb 24, 2023
Games, Misc

Is Virtual Reality Safe? Understanding the Risks and Benefits of VR Headsets

As the Playstation VR gains popularity, many are expressing interest in trying it out, but some are hesitant due to previous experiences of feeling nauseous during virtual museum tours. It's undeniable that some users may experience dizziness or eye fatigue while using virtual reality headsets. However, it's important to note that these experiences are not inherently dangerous. In fact, they are no more dangerous than using other electronic devices or walking on a treadmill. 

Is Virtual Reality Safe? Understanding the Risks and Benefits of VR Headsets

While this may not seem directly related to virtual reality, the effects can be similar. Ultimately, it's essential to be aware of the possibility of dizziness and take necessary precautions, such as taking frequent breaks, to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

It's important to note that the effects of virtual reality headsets can vary from person to person. Additionally, individuals with certain eye conditions may not be able to fully experience the three-dimensional effect of VR. However, for those who are able to use VR headsets, there is no inherent danger, provided that the headset remains properly adjusted and does not shift over time. If the headset does shift, it can cause discomfort and lead to headaches. Therefore, it's important to ensure the headset is properly fitted to prevent discomfort and achieve a more comfortable and enjoyable experience.

Understanding the Risks and Benefits of Virtual Reality Headsets

The drawbacks of VR

Both PlayStation VR and other virtual reality glasses use a relatively straightforward mechanism to create their immersive experience. By projecting a different image into each eye, they eliminate the flat effect of a standard television screen, where both eyes are fixed on the same image. The result is a fascinating three-dimensional effect, but it requires extra effort from the brain to process.

As a result, users may experience fatigue after extended use. Additionally, the screens of VR headsets are located very close to the eyes, requiring constant refocusing and straining of the ciliary muscles, which can lead to eye fatigue. Direct light exposure on the eyes is also a contributing factor to headaches and discomfort after extended use. To minimize these effects, it's recommended to take frequent breaks during use and to ensure that the headset is properly adjusted and fitted for comfort.

Virtual reality can cause dizziness in some individuals due to the brain receiving signals that simulate movement even though the body is not physically moving. This creates a mismatch between the signals received by the vestibular apparatus of the ear, which is responsible for balance, and what the eyes perceive. This mismatch can lead to feelings of dizziness and discomfort. It's worth noting that not everyone experiences these symptoms equally since we all have different thresholds for detecting these imbalances. However, if you are prone to motion sickness, such as getting seasick on a boat or treadmill, then PlayStation VR or other virtual reality headsets may not be suitable for you.

VR might not be for everyone

Apart from dizziness and eye strain, virtual reality glasses generally do not pose significant risks. However, as noted by the American Association of Ophthalmology, individuals with strabismus or amblyopia may not be able to fully enjoy devices like PlayStation VR. This is because strabismus causes a misalignment in both eyes, while amblyopia causes an imbalance in the visual strength of each eye. Consequently, individuals with these conditions may not be able to properly reconstruct the three-dimensional image, and therefore, may not be able to enjoy the full experience.

While virtual reality may not be suitable for everyone, many individuals have found it to be an enjoyable and fascinating experience, as evidenced by the sales of PlayStation VR. Ultimately, it's up to each individual to decide if virtual reality is right for them. Some may be more prone to dizziness and discomfort, while others may not be able to fully experience the technology due to certain visual conditions. However, for those who can enjoy it, virtual reality can provide an immersive and captivating experience.

Understanding the Risks and Benefits of Virtual Reality Headsets


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  1. Anonymous said on February 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    VR was cool for about one hour, then after getting motion sickness I threw it in my closet and never used it again.

  2. John B said on February 24, 2023 at 5:28 pm

    WIFI which the criminals have using microwave radiation frequencies is not something I’d advise having near or on you much less on a device strapped directly to your head: brain cancer and tumors. Any one who doubts that should go stick some meat in a microwave for a hour and tell us how safe microwave radiation is. Oh right – it’s “only a little radiation” – compounded by your WIFI router, your neighbor’s WIFI routers, the WIFI adapters in all your laptops and now desktops how many phones are within a few hundred feet? How many cell phone towers? How many satellites in orbit over your head? Yeah, each device is “only a little radiation” that definitely does not COMPOUND. The criminals and criminal apologists are absolutely pathetic in their excuses.

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