Can virtual reality cause seizures?

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The sales and usage of virtual reality headsets has increased dramatically the past few years. In all, manufacturers shipped out more than a million virtual reality goggles last year alone. Plus, many sites which cater to VR related content have also seen a spike in the number of visitors, downloads and other things. Even adult sites are reporting that the virtual reality porn category has jumped more than 135% the past year alone.

But with so many people using these VR headsets, are there any negative side effects? For example, can using virtual reality cause seizures or other ailments? Parents especially, need to be informed about these issues before they let their kids use any VR gadgets. While the technology is amazing and immersive, it comes with potential health risks.

Before anything else, using a VR headset in a crowded place could be dangerous. You should also never use it without being supervised. That’s because the moment you put on a pair of VR goggles, you become immersed. Your eyes are completely blocked from seeing what is going on around you. It can be compared to someone placing a bandana or eye mask over your eyes. However, since you will be immersed in what’s playing in front of your eyes, chances are you will forget your surroundings. Virtual reality allows a person to become someone else while in the world of VR. They can create avatars or characters in any form they choose. Using these avatars, they are able to interact with others all over the globe.

Some people often fall when using VR headgear. Other worries are that a person’s eye growth may be affected. Before VR came into play, myopia growth was already a concern. In the US alone, there has been an increase of more than 25% in nearsightedness. The biggest fear is the motion sickness a person can experience during virtual reality experiences. Others will get headaches and nausea, in addition to their eye strain.

Since virtual reality is still a new technology, more data and research on its long-term effects need to be done. The same for any side effects it may cause down the line. Presently, there are no known cases of people having seizures due to VR usage. People with pre-existing conditions should be careful about using VR. Those who have a history of blackouts, seizures or epilepsy are prime examples. To avoid any seizures or other ailments, breaks should be taken when using VR. If you have been using it for more than 30 minutes, take 10 to 15 minute breaks.