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Sci Rep. 2017 Nov 23;7(1):16172. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-16320-6.

Ocular effects of virtual reality headset wear in young adults.

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School of Optometry and Vision Science, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.
School of Optometry and Vision Science, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.
Department of Optometry, Asia University, Taichung, Taiwan.


Virtual Reality (VR) headsets create immersion by displaying images on screens placed very close to the eyes, which are viewed through high powered lenses. Here we investigate whether this viewing arrangement alters the binocular status of the eyes, and whether it is likely to provide a stimulus for myopia development. We compared binocular status after 40-minute trials in indoor and outdoor environments, in both real and virtual worlds. We also measured the change in thickness of the ocular choroid, to assess the likely presence of signals for ocular growth and myopia development. We found that changes in binocular posture at distance and near, gaze stability, amplitude of accommodation and stereopsis were not different after exposure to each of the 4 environments. Thus, we found no evidence that the VR optical arrangement had an adverse effect on the binocular status of the eyes in the short term. Choroidal thickness did not change after either real world trial, but there was a significant thickening (≈10 microns) after each VR trial (p < 0.001). The choroidal thickening which we observed suggest that a VR headset may not be a myopiagenic stimulus, despite the very close viewing distances involved.

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