What are the side effects of Virtual Reality?
Using a virtual reality headset has to be one of the most fun forms of technology we have at our disposal in the modern world. Virtual Reality technology has developed immensely in the last 5 years and we now have some epic headsets such as the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and PlayStation VR. Using these VR headsets we can do some amazing things like zoom around the world using Google Earth, fight in 3D spaceship battles, and play realistic puzzle games.
As with any form of technology, Virtual Reality does have negative side effects. Some side effects are similar to playing on a console or watching the TV for too long, but there are some specific side effects too. The below provides an outline of these effects together with advice to reduce these effects:
Non-serious side effects from prolonged usage
For the most part, the side effects of using VR headsets are short-lived and will cause no long-lasting damage to your body and mind. The key is to exercise restraint and use the device in a sensible manner – if you play on your VR headset for several hours running without a break, then common sense dictates that you will feel drained! Minimise your VR headset usage and try to use the device in short bursts and this will reduce any side effects.
Virtual Reality headsets create the feeling of movement and motion due to how the image is displayed. For those who suffer from motion sickness, using a VR headset for long periods of time can make them feel sick in a similar manner as if they were in a vehicle.
When using a VR headset you have no view of the outside world. If you are not careful, you can easily become disoriented and lose the notion of where you actually are. If there are sharp objects such as table corners in your vicinity then you can injure yourself or even trip and fall. Ensure you use VR technology in a clear and open area!
Eye soreness and irritation
Using VR for long periods of time can play havoc with your eyes and make them sore in the same way that looking at a TV screen for hours on end would. As you are constantly looking into a screen at close proximity, it is advisable to only use a VR headset in short bursts.
Serious side effects from prolonged usage
At this point in time, the general long-term serious side effects of exposure to Virtual Reality are unknown. Scientists are still researching the technology and how it interacts with our brain. In time, it may transpire that VR does have long-term consequences, but for now there is only one:
For anyone suffering from seizures or epilepsy, it is advisable to avoid using VR headsets. Due to the nature of this type of device, it can trigger seizures. To avoid any unpleasant occurrences, if you feel that using a VR device could cause a reaction such as this then do not use one!
We hope this has eased your mind about the potential dangers of virtual reality – as you can see, if you use the technology responsibly then you should experience no issues at all!