Are Virtual Reality Headsets Safe?

Once the decision to invest in a virtual reality headsets are made, the next conundrum might not be shopping for one but asking the all important question of safety. As with anything new to the market, there will be questions of whether or not VR headsets are safe to use. Let’s look at some of the questions you might ask, and answer them.

1. Are Virtual Reality headsets safe for kids?

This is a big question. Besides a quick yes or no answer, you’ll want to know about age limits. Plus to see some concrete evidence to show that virtual reality headsets are safe to use before they are added to wish lists for birthdays and Christmas.

Answer: With the screen just two inches from the eye, you might think virtual reality headsets are a no-no for kids. But, because they contain components in the set-up to make the stimulus distant, you have to focus fairly far away to sharpen the image in the headset.

2. What about long term use?

You know very well what your gaming-mad teen is going to be like, wasting hours and probably days in front of existing games consoles – they’re drawn into another world far removed and oblivious to you yelling up the stairs at mealtimes. Virtual reality headsets will transcend that otherworldly experience, in fact, you may never glimpse them again! So, is long term use dangerous?

Answer: Time is really of the essence. Utilise common sense here, and limit the amount of time you spend using a virtual reality headset, the same as you would limit the amount of television, the internet, and general screen use. As far as long term use goes, it’s impossible to say with such a new product. But, remember that your brain will adjust to your new virtual world, and when it’s time to take off your virtual reality headset, then it has to come back into the real world again. This means motor control may take a little longer, so it’s advisable that you don’t jump from a gaming session straight into a real life driving lesson, or operate dangerous machinery, as a precaution.

3. Can Virtual Reality headsets affect eyesight?

An often asked question when it comes to using a virtual reality headset with regularity – are they bad for your eyes? Our eyesight is a precious thing, and we wish to protect it, so, can virtual reality headsets affect eyesight?

Answer: Although there is yet to be evidence when discussing virtual reality headsets specifically, it remains a fact that when you’re looking at something up close, such as reading a book up very close to the face, or looking closely at a mobile phone screen, that it causes the eye to lengthen. Also, following on from that, causing the eye to become near-sighted, which may contribute to the long-term condition known as myopia. However, see the answer to question one, and the advantages of components in the set-up to counteract this.

4. Can you develop motion sickness using Virtual Reality headsets?

Will all that crazy time travelling make you feel, well, just a little bit travel sick?

Answer: VIMS or Visually Induced Motion Sickness is a possibility with virtual reality headsets. The rule of thumb: If you’re normally sick on the rides at the funfair or amusement park, then they’re probably not for you! Love the thrills and spills? Then you shouldn’t feel like losing your lunch.

Common sense

Finally, you may have just discovered how to leap into another world. However, you will still need to regain some old-fashioned common sense. It’s all very well running about on another planet from the safety and comfort of your living room, but don’t for instance, try it while standing on the edge of a cliff. That might just be one step too far!

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