Effects of prolonged use of virtual reality studied by scientists.

VR

Some believe that prolonged use of Virtual Reality leaves no lasting damage, could this be true? Scientists have said that many questions are being asked about the long-term effects of VR headsets, especially now where these headsets are flooding the market and top gaming companies such as Sony has announced to release its PlayStation VR this October. It is good to know that the effect of this device on the brain, eyesight and behavior is being studied and established. Although some of these effects are believed to leave no long lasting damage, there has been few long-term studies into the use of this technology.

A professor of Optometry at the university of California, Berkley named Marty Banks, who also heads the visual space perception laboratory has studied VR and vision, he said that one of the major issues is that which is dubbed “vergence-accomodation conflict” which can cause eye strain. This effect was also noted by Oculus Rift’s guidelines. The current Healthy and Safety guidelines for Oculus Rift, listed possible side effects ranging from nausea, dizziness and seizures to children who have engaged in prolonged use.

Everything i have seen suggests it is all short-term and you readjust after you take that headset off, but it think it would be unwise for us to say there is no problem.

Marty Banks

Even though, the effects seems to be temporary, longer-lasting effects are worth watching out for said Banks. He believes that the many side effects listed by companies producing such devices are just put down to play safe, he said they’re just been too cautious. He continued “I have seen some which are pretty ridiculous, one company offers a warning to pregnant women considering using a VR headset, why would that be?”

Another professor, this time, of human factors at the University of Nottingham, called Sarah Sharples who also happens to be president of the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human factors, said that more research needs to be carried out.

We haven’t really yet got to the stage where people have been using VR for prolonged periods of time -over, for example, periods of weeks or months to identify with any clear certainty any long-term effects of Virtual Reality.

Sarah Sharples

Sharples says cautiously linking “effects” with “problems” the evidence is simply not available,”the key point is; there are effects but are they detrimental?”

And regarding the area of human behavior, the director for dedical VR at the University of Southern California, Albert “Skip” Rizzo, believes that there’s much work to be done.

Psychology as a science has been around for 100 years studying how humans behave and interact in the real world. I think we need almost as much time now to study how humans behave and interact in the virtual world, and what those implications are.

Albert Rizzo

Rizzo talked on the benefits of VR, how they have been used in therapeutic situations, like helping those with post traumatic stress disorder and those suffering from depression. He continued, “I’m one of the biggest proponents that we can do things in VR that makes a positive difference for people in the real world, but if you accept that then you have got to accept that maybe this technology could have detrimental effects that are yet to be seen. I don’t think we should be hysterical about it, we should have watchful caution”.

Visual Reality companies are highly involved in probing these problems, Sharples pointed out, she advises that common sense should prevail in whatever we are doing, echoing that of Oculus: if you feel ill, don’t use the headset for more than 3o minutes, and in addition someone should regularly check on you. Certainly, there are are potential negative effects of VR, we just have to be sensible and cautious when using it, and at the same time we should take advantage of the massive potential it offers as well, she concluded.


Virtual reality (VR) can be referred to as immersive multimedia or computer-simulated reality, VR creates or replicates an immersive environment similar to the real world in order to create a lifelike experience, allowing the user to interact with that world. Virtual realities artificially create sensory experience, which can include sight, touch, hearing, and smell.



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