Is Virtual Reality Bad for Your Eyes? Examining the Effects of Prolonged Use

This post may contain affiliate links which means I may receive a commission from purchases made through links. Learn more on my privacy page.

Does your virtual reality gaming marathon leave you with sore eyes? Research suggests that prolonged VR use could potentially affect eye health. But don’t put down the joystick just yet– this post is here to guide you through understanding, preventing and managing these possible effects.

Interested? Let’s dive deeper!

Key Takeaways

  • Prolonged use of virtual reality (VR) can lead to eye strain, fatigue, dry eyes, virtual reality sickness, twitching eyes, and blurry vision.
  • To prevent these effects, take breaks regularly while using VR, adjust settings for optimal comfort, wear glasses or contacts if needed, and maintain proper hygiene for headset use.
  • VR has the potential to treat conditions like amblyopia (lazy eye) and vision loss by engaging in activities that stimulate the weaker eye and improve visual acuity. However, VR headsets are not designed for children and moderation is recommended.

Potential Effects of VR on Eyes

A close-up of a virtual reality headset surrounded by accessories.

VR can lead to eye strain and fatigue, dry eyes, virtual reality sickness, twitching eyes, and blurry vision.

Eye strain and fatigue

A pair of stylish eyeglasses on a desk with a computer monitor.

Your eyes may feel tired after you use a VR headset for a long time. This is called eye strain and fatigue. You blink less when using VR, which can make your eyes dry out and get tired quickly.

Also, the high-resolution settings in the VR world push your eyes to work hard. They need to keep up with fast-moving views all around you! Too much of this can tire out your eye muscles over time.

But don’t worry! If you take breaks and limit how long you play each day, you should be fine.

Dry eyes

A close-up photo of a VR headset with a tear drop reflecting.

Using virtual reality (VR) for long periods of time can cause dry eyes. When we are focused on the VR experience, we tend to blink less frequently, which leads to decreased moisture in our eyes.

This lack of blinking can result in dryness and discomfort. Research has shown that prolonged use of VR smartphone apps is associated with a negative correlation with near point of accommodation (NPA) and near point of convergence (NPC), which means it affects our ability to focus up close and coordinate our eye movements properly.

To prevent dry eyes while using VR, it’s important to take breaks regularly. You should also make sure your VR headset is comfortable and fits properly on your face to avoid unnecessary pressure on your eyes.

Additionally, keep the area around your eyes clean by wiping down the headset after each use, as dirt or debris can irritate the eyes further. If you wear glasses or contacts, make sure they are clean and correctly fitted before using VR to reduce any additional eye strain.

Virtual reality sickness

A VR headset surrounded by a vibrant cityscape and bustling atmosphere.Virtual reality sickness is a common problem that some people experience when using VR. It can cause symptoms like nausea, dizziness, and headaches. This happens because the movement you see in VR doesn’t match up with what your body feels, which confuses your brain.

While not everyone gets virtual reality sickness, it’s important to take breaks and stop using VR if you start feeling unwell. Adjusting the settings on your headset or trying different games or experiences may also help reduce the chances of getting sick.

Remember to listen to your body and take care of yourself while enjoying virtual reality gaming!

Twitching eyes

Close-up of blinking eyes with a blurred VR headset in background.Twitching eyes can sometimes occur after prolonged use of virtual reality (VR). When your eyes are constantly focused on the screen or moving rapidly while wearing a VR headset, it can strain the muscles around your eyes.

This muscle fatigue and strain may result in eye twitching or spasms. While this is usually temporary and not a cause for alarm, it’s important to take breaks during VR sessions to give your eyes a rest.

Additionally, practicing good eye hygiene by blinking frequently and avoiding staring at the screen for too long can help prevent eye twitching.

Blurry vision

A blurred VR headset surrounded by vibrant virtual reality images.

Prolonged use of virtual reality (VR) may lead to blurry vision. This happens because the eyes are constantly focusing and refocusing on rapidly changing views within the VR environment, which can strain the eye muscles.

Additionally, staring at a screen for long periods without blinking enough can cause dryness and blur in vision. However, it’s important to note that there is no evidence of long-term damage to vision from using VR.

Taking regular breaks and adjusting settings can help reduce blurry vision while enjoying VR experiences.

Safety of VR Headsets for Children

A VR headset among children's toys on a shelf.

It is important to consider the safety of virtual reality (VR) headsets, especially when it comes to children. VR devices are not designed for kids, and even those without age limits explicitly state this.

While there is ongoing debate about the potential negative emotional and psychological consequences of VR experiences, there is no conclusive evidence to suggest that VR is worse for the eyes than watching TV.

However, moderation in using VR is recommended to prevent any harmful effects. Remember, research suggests that prolonged use of VR may cause eye problems in adults, but there is no evidence of long-term damage specifically in children.

Potential Eye Health Benefits of VR

A VR headset surrounded by eye-related medical equipment.

VR has the potential to treat conditions like amblyopia and vision loss, making it a promising tool in improving eye health.

Treatment for amblyopia (lazy eye)

A child immersed in a colorful virtual reality game.

Lazy eye, also known as amblyopia, is a condition where one eye does not develop normal vision during childhood. Virtual reality (VR) has shown promise as a treatment option for lazy eye.

Studies have found that VR games designed specifically for this purpose can improve visual acuity in children with lazy eye. By using VR headsets and engaging in activities that stimulate the weaker eye, it helps build up its strength and coordination with the stronger eye.

This treatment is especially beneficial because it makes therapy more enjoyable and interactive for children compared to traditional methods like patching or special glasses.

Treatment for vision loss

A virtual reality headset surrounded by objects representing vision improvement.

If you’re worried about vision loss, virtual reality (VR) might actually have some benefits for you. VR can be used as a treatment for certain eye conditions. For example, it can help people with lazy eye (amblyopia) improve their vision.

VR therapy involves using specialized games or exercises to stimulate the weaker eye and strengthen its connections to the brain. This treatment is often more engaging and enjoyable than traditional patching methods.

Additionally, VR has been used to provide vision training for individuals with visual impairments, helping them improve their ability to recognize objects and navigate their surroundings.

How to Protect Your Eyes During VR Use

A futuristic virtual reality headset in a vibrant tech-inspired environment.

To protect your eyes during VR use, take frequent breaks, adjust settings for optimal comfort, wear glasses or contacts if needed, and maintain proper hygiene for headset use.

Taking breaks

A serene forest scene with a hammock surrounded by lush greenery.

To protect your eyes while using virtual reality (VR), it’s important to take breaks. Prolonged use of VR can strain your eyes and lead to fatigue. By taking short breaks every 20 minutes, you give your eyes a chance to rest and recover.

During these breaks, try looking away from the screen and focusing on objects in the distance. This helps reduce eye strain and prevents discomfort. Remember, moderation is key when enjoying VR experiences!

Adjusting settings

A close-up photo of a virtual reality headset with buttons and knobs.

To protect your eyes while using virtual reality (VR), it’s important to adjust the settings on your headset. Start by ensuring that the brightness and contrast levels are comfortable for you.

If the visuals are too bright or dim, it can strain your eyes. Additionally, try to find a balance between resolution and frame rate that works well for you. Lower resolutions might result in blurry images, while high frame rates could cause motion sickness.

Experiment with different settings until you find what feels best for your eyesight. Remember, taking breaks from VR is still crucial even if you’ve adjusted the settings correctly!

Wearing glasses or contacts

If you wear glasses or contacts, you might be wondering how they fit into the virtual reality (VR) experience. The good news is that you can still use VR while wearing your prescription eyewear.

Many VR headsets have enough space to accommodate glasses, so you can simply put them on and enjoy the immersive experience. However, if you prefer using contact lenses, that’s also an option.

Just make sure to follow proper hygiene practices when using a VR headset with contacts to avoid any eye infections or discomfort. Overall, wearing glasses or contacts shouldn’t prevent you from enjoying VR gaming!

Proper hygiene for headset use

A VR headset is displayed in a vibrant and professional setting.

To keep your eyes healthy while using a VR headset, it’s important to practice proper hygiene. Make sure to clean the lenses regularly with a soft cloth and lens cleaner solution. Avoid touching the lenses with your fingers as this can leave smudges or scratches.

It’s also a good idea to wipe down the headset itself with an alcohol-free disinfectant wipe after each use, especially if you share it with others.

In addition to keeping the headset clean, don’t forget about your own personal hygiene. Wash your hands before putting on the headset to prevent transfer of bacteria or viruses onto your face or eyes.

If you wear glasses or contacts, make sure they are clean and properly fitted before using the VR headset.


A pair of virtual reality goggles and a smartphone on a modern desk.

In conclusion, prolonged use of virtual reality (VR) may lead to eye strain, fatigue, and other discomforts. However, there is no evidence to suggest long-term damage. To protect your eyes while using VR, remember to take breaks, adjust settings, and practice good hygiene with the headset.

So enjoy your VR gaming sessions responsibly and keep those eyes healthy!


1. What are the effects of using virtual reality for a long time?

Using virtual reality for a long period can lead to vision problems like digital eye strain, focusing difficulties and ocular fatigue.

2. Can virtual reality harm my eyes?

Yes, high-resolution VR environments could put pressure on your brain and face, which may cause visual discomfort and heterophoria.

3. Is all the damage from prolonged VR use permanent?

No, issues such as digital eye strain and heterophoria caused by Virtual Reality are treatable with proper care or even preventable.

4. How can I safeguard my eyesight when using virtual reality?

Cutting back on how long you use Virtual Reality is one way to lessen its health risks to your eyes. Regular breaks also help avoid ocular fatigue.

5. Should kids use VR systems?

Kids’ vision development is still ongoing so it’s crucial to limit their exposure to VR in order not to affect this progress.

Share with your friends.

Jamie Wilkinson

Hey! My name is Jamie and welcome to Surviving the Day. I'm a jack of all trades but master of none. I love learning new things and living a healthy lifestyle. Hopefully, you'll find some of the information I share useful to you and your family. Feel free to drop me a line and I'll be sure to respond!

Recent Articles