If you’ve ever worn a virtual reality headset for an extended period, you’ve no doubt seen the world a little differently once you’ve taken it off. Maybe things seem a little more three-dimensional. Or less. But something’s different. You probably didn’t think, though, about how using that headset was impacting your vision.
Maybe you should. A new study released by The Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Future Visual Entertainment suggests that extended use of high-end VR headsets like HTC’s Vive (or, presumably, the Oculus Rift) can have beneficial effects on preteens’ vision, in some cases actually improving kids’ myopia or hyperopia. The key, according to the study, is using a high-end headset with a “properly designed virtual image distance.”
It’s probably worth taking the results of this study with a grain of salt, especially because it came to its conclusions by testing just 50 students, split almost evenly between fourth- and sixth graders, and because of other reports that allege that Sony’s PlayStation VR might lead to eye problems. But there’s been work done on the idea of using VR to help with vision disorders, like strabismus. Here’s hoping a lot more research goes into this subject.