Why Do VR Headsets Cause A Headache?

Are you getting a headache after using your VR headset? You’re not alone. Check out why it happens and what you can do about it here.

Woman with a headache

VR headsets provided us with the ability to experience virtual reality but they are not that good yet. One big issue is that using a VR headset can give you a headache. You may have noticed this if you’ve used a headset before. So, why do VR headsets cause a headache?

A headache is only a symptom of an illness. VR headsets cause virtual reality sickness. When you’re using a headset, your brain and your eyes are not in sync. Your eyes are telling you that you’re in motion, while your brain knows you’re resting. This causes VR sickness.

VR headsets are getting better though, even for people with sight problems. Let’s expand a bit.

What Is Virtual Reality Sickness?

As you may know, pilots use VR for testing, practice, etc. This is a way more immersive experience than the one you get with video games. Well, pilots started complaining about feeling disoriented, headaches, nausea, and fatigue.

Because of this, some tests were done, and they observed this collection of symptoms. A headache is not a necessary symptom of virtual reality sickness. But I guess if you’re here, you get headaches after using a VR headset. Most likely you’ll feel general discomfort and disorientation.

You may have noticed that virtual reality sickness is kind of similar to motion sickness. If you’ve ever been motion sick on a boat, you know the feeling. Well, the sicknesses are really similar. Motion sickness occurs when your eyes tell you are at rest but you know you’re moving.

Related article – Do Headphones Help With Motion Sickness?

Man rubbing sore eyes

VR Headsets & Nearsightedness

Some VR headsets don’t account for the sight problems that people may have. For instance, a person who is nearsighted will not see the screen clearly, it will be blurry. That is if the VR headset doesn’t have lenses.

Blurry vision can cause a headache. So, this may be the reason why are you getting headaches. I’m not saying you’re not experiencing virtual reality sickness but blurry vision may have caused the headache.

Even though nearsighted people see clearly up close, the VR screen is still blurry. That’s because, with VR, the actual distance doesn’t matter. The screen projects a picture that fools your eyes. You’re seeing at a distance of 1.5-2.0 meters.

Fortunately, some headsets have an adjustable lens. This may fix your blurry vision if you are not too nearsighted. It will cure your headache if that’s why you have it in the first place. So, make sure you’re using the VR lenses right.

Related article – Can Earbuds Cause Headaches?

Reading glasses

VR Headsets For Nearsighted

You can avoid getting a headache from your VR headset if you just wear your glasses. That’s not ideal though, as the frame of the glasses may not fit with the headset. Another solution is to wear contact lenses, though some people are not comfortable with contacts.

Manufacturers offer a solution too. There are headsets that account for nearsighted people. The Samsung Gear VR had adjustable lenses with few options. Even though it’s discontinued you can still find it in stock. The Oculus Rift S only has one lens that sets it at a distance of 1.5 meters.

Smasung Gear VR

Oculus Rift S

Other VR Headsets For Nearsighted

To be honest, the lens that comes with the VR headset, it’s not really a solution. People still tend to use their glasses as the lens doesn’t help that much. From what I’ve seen, there are creative solutions too. For instance, you can order glasses that are the perfect measure for your VR.

Related Article – Is There A VR Headset That Can Fit A 7 Inch Tablet?

Are VR Headsets Improving?

VR headsets have come a long way, and they now have a big audience. Some are still not satisfied with the experience though. In my opinion, the actual headset has improved a lot but there’s still a lack of good content. Let’s focus on virtual reality sickness here.

In a nutshell, we’ve explained why headsets cause virtual reality sickness. The brain and the eyes are not in sync. This has a lot to do with how our eye focuses on the VR. The headset doesn’t exactly know where the eye is focused. Because the screen is up close, your eye can focus on one point but the background isn’t blurred.

Since we have this perception that we are not focused on one thing, we feel distorted. But this isn’t bad as it sounds. It just means you have to take breaks from using the VR headset. Don’t put too much strain on your eyes.

But there’s hope. This is a rapidly progressive technology, and a solution will soon come. The idea is to make the screen have an adaptive focus. This will monitor your eye, and be able to recognize where your focus is. Then, it will change the perspective so it will be comfortable for your eyes. The adaptive focus will also fix the problems VR headsets have with nearsightedness.

Related article – What Is The Best VR Headset For Watching Movies?

Two VR headsets

How To Avoid Getting A Headache From VR Headset

While we’re waiting for a headset that won’t cause virtual reality sickness, you can take steps to prevent getting it. Follow these steps to avoid getting a headache while using a VR headset.

  1. Take a break after using the VR for 30 minutes.
    Your eyes will be able to handle the strain for quite some time. The point is to not overdo it. Rest for 30 minutes, play for 30.
  2. Use glasses or a VR lens if your vision is blurry. 
    Don’t keep using the VR if the screen is not clear without your glasses. If the VR lenses help, it’s okay. If not, use your glasses.
  3. Try looking at the center of the screen.
    Focusing on every detail, moving your eyes rapidly will increase the chance you get sick. It’s best if you’re not putting too much focus on your VR experience.

That’s about it, there’s nothing else you can do. Use your glasses or the lens, follow the steps, and you should be fine. I hope I helped you with your problem, take care.

Related article – Do You Need A VR Headset To Play VRChat?