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Sore Eyes After VR Experience – What Am I Doing Wrong?

Sore Eyes After VR Featured
Woman's eye with futuristic digital data concept for technology, virtual reality headset, biometric retina scan, surveillance or computer hacker security

Virtual-reality is yet to become mainstream, but even now there are some known unpleasant side-effects. Many users report motion sickness, nausea or sore eyes after their VR experience.

None of these VR side-effects proved to cause long-term damage and usually wear off soon after you take the headset off.

However, these issues are not to be neglected. We are sure that in future developers and engineers will do their best to nullify them.

Meanwhile, in this article we will specifically talk about sore eyes after VR, and present you with simple tips that should mitigate this VR side-effect.

Adjust the VR headset lenses

Sore eyes after VR

We’d imagine that when you first got your VR device you couldn’t wait to immerse into the brand new world. If you haven’t thoroughly examined headset’s settings, this may be the cause of sore eyes after VR usage.

Improper IPD (interpupillary distance) settings is one of the most common causes for eye strain. Usual distance between human pupils is in between 60-70mm, but can vary. If you didn’t adjust the headset just perfectly, the VR experience may be uncomfortable for you.

Most mobile VR devices don’t have IPD adjustment feature, which means that if your IPD is “out of standard” you won’t be able to enjoy the ride.

Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, on the other hand, can be manually adjusted, while PS VR takes care of this with a smart software solution.

Upgrade your PC

High end VR devices like HTC Vive and Oculus Rift require very strong PC configurations. One of the reasons you can have sore eyes after VR is that your PC simply can’t render all the images properly. You can check the spec comparison for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift here.

Lower the brightness

Once you immerse into virtual-reality, your brain gets overflown with sensations. While the experience is exhilarating, in the beginning it may be a bit too much for your brain to process.

Therefore we suggest that you lower the brightness level to one that accommodates you the best. This won’t affect the overall effect of VR program or game that you are running, but will give your eyes a much needed relief.

Avoid long sessions

Sore eyes after VR - long sessions

Your eyes are used to working together. When you look at certain object, both eyes focus on it and your brain puts together a 3D image. While wearing a HMD (Head Mounted Display), each of your eyes gets a separate image from two small LCD monitors.

This may confuse your eyes and cause eye strain and fatigue. Therefore, we recommend that you keep your VR sessions relatively short, not longer than 30 minutes. After each session, give your eyes some time to rest and readjust.

Move less

This goes both for your head and eye movement. The best way to protect your eyes while in VR is to look straight forward, relax and enjoy. This may seem hard, since naturally you’ll want to absorb as much of the virtual environment as possible.

The truth is, you really won’t miss anything if you keep your pupils still, and you will mitigate the eye strain and some other VR side-effects.

Lucid Dreaming After Being in VR

Lucid Dreaming After Being in VR
Dreamy virtuality... It's a thing.

Lucid dreaming is a psychological phenomenon in which the dreamer is capable of controlling his actions within the dream. In addition, you are able to immerse into the dreamworld with complete clarity. Anything that you hear, see or smell while dreaming feels as authentic as reality.

This extraordinary experience enables you to explore the astral planes, since with practice, you will be able not only to control your own actions, but the environment as well. We can conclude that our brain precedes modern VR devices, and is actually the original VR machine.

Most likely, at first, you will use this ability to fulfill your fantasies. But this phenomenon also holds the key of resolving some of your inner conflicts, psychological issues, or to get in touch with your inner creativity.

That being said, we can draw some conclusive parallels between lucid dreaming and VR experience. They can both take us places that would be virtually impossible to reach in real life. Many VR users report that they have lucid dreams more frequently after exposure to virtual reality.

Can VR induce lucid dreaming?

Lucid Dreaming After Being in VR
Being aware that you are in a dream enables you to control it

Several researches found that gamers often have a better sense of awareness during their dreams. While playing, you get used to controlling something, so you are more likely to try and control your dreams as well. The basic idea behind this is that when you spend a lot of time in controllable and fictional world, you might look at the dream world through the same lens.

The truth is, while you are using a VR device, you put your brain in a state that very much resembles the REM state. Virtual environments are getting ever more immersive, and offer the experiences such as deep sea diving, flying, and many more activities that are almost, if not completely, impossible in the real world.

The one activity that can increase the frequency of lucid dreaming to engage yourself in more “dream-like” thinking. Hence it is indeed plausible, and even likely that engagement in virtual-reality programs will induce the higher frequency of lucid dreaming.

Human brain – The ultimate VR device

Lucid Dreaming After Being in VR Brain
Still the most powerful VR device

There are several differences between VR and lucid dreaming which prove that, while technology is advancing quickly, human brain is still the most amazing piece of “software”. In VR experiences, everything is basically a code. Even tough it is an amazing sensation, it has its boundaries and limitations.

On the other hand, our brain, especially during the REM phase, is limitless. The tricky part is, that in order to become a lucid dreamer, some practice is required. Scientists argue that everyone is capable of lucid dreaming, it is just a matter of training and mastering the proper techniques. If you are already a lucid dreamer, lucky you! If not, you can read and learn more about lucid dreams.

It seems that dreaming is such a crucial aspect of humanity, that we are striving to develop technologies that can create these dream-like environments. The birth of the VR is certainly creating the new age of human experience, pushing its extent to yet unknown limits.

If in future we maintain the respect for both of our virtual worlds – biological and technological, and do our best to develop a mutually beneficial relation between them, we are in for an exciting and bright future!

What Headsets Can You Use With Windows Mixed Reality?

HP Windows Mixed Reality Headset
HP Windows Mixed Reality Headset

HP and Acer Windows Mixed Reality Headsets

At the moment, there are two available headsets that officially work with Windows Mixed Reality: one made by HP, priced at $329, and another one by Acer, listed at $299.

Both headsets have “Developer Edition” attached to their name. Still, it seems that anybody can buy them, provided they are not out of stock, of course.

Spec-wise, the two headsets are virtually identical:

  • Two high-resolution liquid crystal displays at 1440 x 1440
  • 89” diagonal display size (x2)
  • Front hinged display
  • 95 degrees horizontal field of view
  • Display refresh rate up to 90 Hz (native)
  • Built-in audio out and microphone support through 3.5mm jack
  • Single cable with HDMI 2.0 (display) and USB 3.0 (data) for connectivity
  • Inside-out tracking
  • 00m cable

The similarities are not a surprise really, due to Microsoft’s detailed tech and design specifications provided to all headset manufacturers.

The inside-out tracking is the biggest draw of Microsoft’s Mixed Reality. Its “six degrees of freedom” technology removes the need for external tracking sensors that Rift and Vive are known for.

Acer Windows Mixed Reality Headset
Acer Windows Mixed Reality Headset

Now, Microsoft’s recommended PC system specifications are far more demanding than the initially proposed Intel HD Graphics 620.

Recommended processor models are either i7 with 6+ cores or AMD Ryzen 7 1700-equivalent or greater, with 8 cores and 16 threads.

GPU recommendations are on the very high-end as well – NVIDIA GTX 980/1060 or AMD Radeon RX 480-equivalent or greater, with 8GB (must be DX12 and WDDM 2.2 compatible).

Apparently, you also need at least 16 GB of RAM.

Of course, none of this is final. These are developer edition Windows Mixed Reality headsets that are subject to change and update over time.

Make sure to let your developer friends know these are available. The emerging market of Windows Mixed Reality is primed to explode by the end of the year.

ASUS, Dell & Lenovo Windows Mixed Reality Headsets

ASUS Windows Mixed Reality Headset
ASUS Windows Mixed Reality Headset

As one of the leaders in the gaming and tech innovation market, ASUS made sure to have their own take on the Windows Mixed Reality headset.

ASUS ROG (Republic of Gamers) machines are Oculus-compatible already. Now, ASUS is looking to establish their presence in the mixed reality market as well. Apparently, their headset is supposed to be ultra-light, with ergonomically adjustable strap.

Dell has partnered with Microsoft to bring a commercially viable consumer headset too. Their Windows Mixed Reality headset is designed by the team in charge of Dell’s high-end XPS and Alienware PCs.

Dell is focusing on comfort and convenience, with replaceable cushions, weight balanced headband, cable routing for more convenient cable management and an easily removable flip-up visor.

Dell’s Windows Mixed Reality headset is scheduled to be released some time before holiday.

Dell Windows Mixed Reality Headset
Dell Windows Mixed Reality Headset

Last, but not least, Lenovo will add their own solution into the mix as well. It’s supposed to be affordable and easy to set-up and enjoy the mixed reality experiences. It’s certainly better to have more options – it lowers the barrier of entry for new consumers.

Now, despite being listed on Microsoft’s official store page, there are no indications of Oculus Rift and HTC Vive joining the Windows Mixed Reality family of headsets any time soon. Obviously, these two popular VR headsets would first need to be updated with inside-out tracking technology.

However, even then, Microsoft might have exclusive Windows Mixed Reality partnership deals with ASUS, Dell, Lenovo, Acer and HP.

On the other hand, supporting Vive and Rift would provide a significant jumpstart to Windows Mixed Reality. The race is on!

Lenovo Windows Mixed Reality Headset
Lenovo Windows Mixed Reality Headset