The Healthy Problems that Virtual Reality can Cause

Virtual reality has been heralded as the technology of the future, but it still causes many health problems in humans today.

Man using virtual reality goggles inside an enclosure

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LatinAmerican Post| Juan Manuel Londoño

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Virtual reality is, for many, the future of human technology. There has been a lot of talk about the metaverse and its possible applications in work, socializing and entertainment and we have already seen the first advances in these aspects. However, before we start thinking about utopian applications of technology, it is important to review the bumps in the road that prevent it from being fully adopted. One of these problems is the different health problems that virtual reality can cause in humans. Let's see some of them.

Vision problems

A study from the University of Leeds found that just 20 minutes of using a virtual reality headset could affect children's vision and balance.

According to the study, the problem with virtual reality is that computer-generated images are displayed on two-dimensional screens, which means that the eyes must remain focused in one place. However, since the images presented are three-dimensional, the eyes must be constantly changing focus from near to far. In the short term, this can lead to headaches and difficulty concentrating.

Problems with the perception of reality

In a study published in the specialized journal “Computers in Human Behavior”, a curious effect of virtual reality on the way in which humans perceive reality was evidenced.

The study found that people can have mild symptoms of depersonalization and derealization after just one virtual reality session. Keep in mind that depersonalization refers to an attitude characterized by being impersonal, insensitive and distant from others. On the other hand, derealization is a state in which the person feels "distanced" from the perception of things around him, as if he were in a bubble or in a dream.

Although the researchers showed that these symptoms occur in the short term, we still do not know what the long-term effects of virtual reality use are.

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Hearing problems

The vast majority of virtual reality headsets also come equipped with headsets, to create the perfect illusion of the virtual environment. Using hearing aids frequently, at high sound levels, can lead to hearing loss, tinnitus, and other hearing-related problems.

In addition to these problems, it is worth mentioning that the misuse of virtual reality can cause accidents in the real world. People, by not correctly perceiving their physical space, collide with objects or stumble. However, if people correctly follow the instructions on their VR headsets, this should be less of a concern. Frequent breaks between each session also help relieve visual and muscular fatigue that these devices can generate.