We know that every time something new and exciting pops up in the world -and particularly if it’s popular- there will always be the question of whether that something, as wonderful as it is, could be bad for you. It’s not hard to understand people who get too hung up on this; Big companies have a tendency to think about the consequences of their products after they’ve sold as much of said products as they can.
It’s not nearly enough to answer the question with a “yes”, or “no”. As consumers, we gotta be as informed as we can to make better decisions – and sharing that information in detail is the best way to increase the quantity and quality of the information that consumers around the world have access to. This, in turn, will result in better products for everyone.
The most common issue when talking about screens and your eyes is eye tiredness – since the eye has to focus on one single thing at the same time, they eventually get tired.
This is called Computer Vision Syndrome – and it is much like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Since your eyes has to go through the same motions so many times that the strain becomes too much for your eyes and they become chronically strained.
The eyes have extraocular movements, which are muscles that control the movements of the eye. Each eye has 6 of these – although being very powerful muscles that work all day to help your eyes move correctly, they can become strained easily.
When it comes to computer of phone screens, the main problem is that your eyesight is constantly focused on a very specific point – and the movements of your eyes are quite restricted, i.e: Reading documents. The flicker, brightness and positioning of a computer screen don’t help either.
When talking about Virtual reality, though, the context in which you’re staring at a screen changes drastically. While the screen is “fixed” in place, you can move around quite a lot. VR headsets are also placed at a more or less optimal distance in which your eyes have to make only a minimal effort to focus on.
Then comes the matter of field of vision. Virtual Reality offers a field of vision much greater than other screens, much closer to your eyes’ full capacity. This means that your extraocular muscles have a lot more freedom to move about – they are utilized to a greater extent than with other smaller screens. This means that VR headsets are better for your eyes than other electronic devices.
The reason we blink is to keep our eyes moist. If your eyes are not constantly moist, you risk a series of problems, including those to do with your cornea – which is the outermost part of your eye. Liquid prevents any foreign small particles from sticking to the cornea by trapping it in water.
When your cornea is not hydrated, movement of the eye could result in friction which in turn irritates the eye. It is also possible for a small particle to stick to your cornea- this could end up in an eye infection or scratches which could affect your vision.
Turns out that when we look at screens, we tend to blink far less often than we would otherwise. It’s no wonder – typically, we’re doing something on those screens that require our attention. You wouldn’t want to blink too much while you’re playing an online game – you could be killed in that fraction of a second when you’re not looking.
But as long as you’re healthy, and use screens in moderation, this can be easily compensated. There are eye drops that help you eyes stay hydrated for longer – or you could simply make an effort to blink just a little more often.
Though it might seem like some sort of made-up remedy, giving your eyes some time to rest is one of the best ways to prevent any problems regarding eye tiredness.
As we said earlier, your eye relies on a series of muscles to move and look around. These muscles will become strained if they’re performing the same motions over and over again – it’s quite simple.
Just like you would rest after a while of walking when your legs start to feel tired or sore, the same thing applies to your eyes. The problem is that we don’t think about the eyes the same way that we do for the rest of our muscles: we expect eyes to work non-stop, at peak performance, for the whole of your waking time. If you’re not careful, this could mean in chronic eye tiredness, and eye muscle problems.
The good news is that all of that is very easy to prevent; Doctors usually recommend to take a break every half an hour. So – if you can – take a break of at least thirty seconds every half an hour. You can do this by looking at something that’s very far away, closing your eyes for a few seconds, and remembering to blink plenty.
If you’re somebody who enjoys playing very visual games, you’ll want to be extra careful not to overdo it. Games that are very fast demand an immense amount of focus and a greater amount of quick movements that will make your eyes tire sooner than with other games. Ironically, these games also demand longer gameplays – so be sure that you set some time to take a break before you even start playing, because by then you’ll be too immersed to remember.
When you hear the term “blue light”, it doesn’t mean a literal blue – but rather it refers to the specific wavelength of light. Blue is one of the highest energy wavelengths, close to violet, which is the last wavelength of light that our eyes are able to detect – moving on to ultraviolet frequencies. (think the cover of dark side of the moon)
This kind of light is not bad per se, but it is a very powerful light; Our eyes are not meant to be receiving such high quantities of blue light as we do nowadays. Particularly at night, studies have shown that blue light has bad repercussions not just on your ability to fall asleep, but on the quality of said sleep.
But we have some great news. Not all screens are the same – OLED screens create a type of light of a lower frequency, which is more gentler on your eyes. It emits as much as three times less blue light than other screens, making it three times better for you.
…And guess which device has a high-quality OLED screen? That’s right: The Oculus Quest.
Though you definitely don’t notice whenever you’re using your phone or your computer, you tend to adopt strange postures when staring at screens. This is because we give priority to our eyes over posture – but this, in the long run, can cause damage. Neck pain and back pain are some of the most common symptoms seen in office workers – this is because of the need for your eyes to look at a straight angle. So we accommodate our body posture to get the straightest angle we can get.
Once again, this is not a problem for the oculus – since it is literally a screen fixed in front of your eyes. You don’t need to adopt a certain posture or angle when using it, nor are you fixed to a specific place when using it.
So don’t worry – you don’t really have to worry about the position of the screen when using your Oculus Quest. But do keep in mind that practising good posture while using your Oculus Quest will help keep any type of neck or back pain at bay.
Everything, in excess, is bad. This much is common sense.
But when it comes to screens and health risks -and this is a very heated and old debate- Oculus Quest (and Virtual Reality devices in general) are some of the healthiest screens for your eyes around. Not only because of the type of screen (the Quest has OLED, the best for your eyes) but also because VR headsets do not require you to adopt a particular posture, or be sitting down, or look down at a bad angle, etc.
It is important to know difference whether something is bad for you or something can be bad for you.
Fortunately, even if you overindulge in VR gaming, you’re much better off than if you were using any other type of screen for too long. In the end, we are visual creatures, and we can’t avoid screens no matter where we go. It could even be said that we don’t know how to live without screens anymore. So – some extent of eye tiredness is to be expected.
The good part is that most of the issues that come from looking at screens are easily avoided – and this is even truer when it comes to the Oculus Quest.