Is PlayStation VR bad for your health?

Sony has revealed exactly what’s you’ll get with PlayStation VR in a brand new unboxing video – but UK experts are warning you could find a number of health issues packed away with the headset and new controllers. We just can’t have anything nice, it seems!

The PlayStation VR headset launches around the world from October 13, and while early pre-orders are sold out in many retailers, the new hardware will cost you AU$549.95 if you’re lucky enough to find it.

What could cost you more, however, is the long-term eye damage that medical experts are predicting will come along with the headset.

Speaking with thoroughly respected and not-at-all sensationalist UK outlet The Mirror, Dr David Allamby (clinical director of a London laser eye clinic) says gamers who use the headsets are setting themselves up for a lifetime of blurred vision, short-sightedness and “agonisingly-painful dry eye”.

Parents and younger people need to know the risks. With VR, we’re going to potentially see more and more people suffering from a lack of exposure to daylight – something which affects the way our eyes naturally grow and which can lead to short-sightedness, or ‘myopia’.

Allamby goes on to explain that part of the problem with VR is that it prevents our eyes from focussing at a far distance – yet another factor in developing myopia.

The bigger problem, he says? VR is too exciting – so much so that gamers forget to blink!

Many VR users have complained about dry eye or eye strain from wearing headsets, a condition exacerbated by the fact that some wearers, when in a stressful situation and immersed in a 3D action environment, simply neglect to blink as often as they should be to really lubricate the eye. It’s not something to be taken lightly – over a prolonged period of time, dry eye can lead to extreme pain, with sufferers sometimes describing it as being stabbed in their eyes.

The VR headset can also cause neurological issues, says Allamby, who believes the technology “needs to be better understood”.

The number of UK kids suffering short-sightedness has doubled over the past three decades, something Allamby links to the rise of video games, the use of smartphones and tablets, and the fact kids simply don’t play outside in the sunshine these days.

As recently as 10 years ago, children would have only been in front of a screen when watching television, but now they are moving from the TV screen to a tablet and now, increasingly, using a smartphone too – probably just a few inches from their eyes. The length of time children now spend in front of those screens will be doing them damage.

In closing, Allamby suggests that everyone – especially children – spends a little more time in natural light, perhaps playing real-life games rather than the video type.

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