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Improving Your Clarity in VR

Dec 13, 2023 11:13:12 AM / by James Hay

Training in virtual reality should be accessible, comfortable, and most importantly safe for everyone involved, including those who wear glasses. 

If you have a vision impairment such as near-sightedness, the images you see in a VR headset might appear blurry or distorted without any corrective lenses. If you do not wear your glasses while using the VR headset, it may result in eye strain, headaches, and discomfort. 

If you only have a slight vision impairment it is recommended to at least try wearing the VR headset first without your glasses. In fact, EVERYONE SHOULD DO THE FOLLOWING! Whether you choose to try VR first with or without glasses, simple steps like ensuring that the fit is correct, keeping the lenses clean, adjusting the IPD, etc. can easily increase the likelihood of a positive VR experience. The following steps are recommended for everyone.  

  • Proper Cleaning:
    Ensure that your VR lenses are clean. Wipe with a lint-free microfiber cloth followed by a non-abrasive wipe for the best results. 

 

  • Adjust the Head Straps:
    Adjust the headset on your face (while wearing glasses or not) until the vision is crisp and tighten all the straps so the headset is snug. Depending on your headset these can include side straps, a top strap, or both.

  • Calibrate your IPD (Interpupillary Distance):
    For optimal visual clarity and quality, it is recommended to adjust the IPD setting in the VR headset. IPD stands for Interpupillary Distance, which is the distance measured in millimeters between the centers of the pupils of the eyes. The IPD adjustment on a VR headset is a feature that allows users to adjust the spacing of the headset's lenses to match the distance between their eyes. Adjusting the interpupillary distance (IPD), can help ensure a clear and comfortable visual experience. An incorrect IPD can make or break an experience, regardless of whether you wear glasses or not.

    If you want to get an idea of what your IPD is before going into VR there are two ways. The best way to ensure the most accurate measurement of your IPD is to visit an optometrist.  If you want to skip the optometrist and do this from home, stand in front of a mirror and hold a ruler above your eyes. Closing one eye, line one end of the ruler up with the open eye, with the end of the ruler centered on your pupil. Without moving the ruler, open your closed eye, and place a finger on the ruler directly above your pupil. Take note of the distance by reading the millimeter measurement on the ruler directly above the center point on your pupil. 

  • Break Reminders:
    Encourage ALL users to take regular breaks to reduce eye strain and discomfort.
If wearing the VR headset without glasses didn’t work, here are some tips for wearing corrective lenses with your VR headset…
  • Ensure all lenses are clean before use:
    Make sure both your glasses and VR lenses are clean. Wipe with a lint-free microfiber cloth followed by a non-abrasive wipe for best results. 

  • Ample space for glasses:
    Make sure your headset offers enough interior space to comfortably fit a variety of frames without pressing them into the face. If you wear wider frames, first make sure your headset has more space to accommodate your glasses. You may need to purchase a spacer or wider face gasket to use with your VR headset while wearing glasses. 

  • Soft face padding:
    Having soft and cushioned face padding that helps distribute pressure evenly can help tremendously, reducing discomfort for users who wear glasses. If your VR headset has options to upgrade the face gasket, or you can find a 3rd party face gasket that offers more padding, this might be worth looking at.  

  • Putting on the headset:
    Starting from the front, put the headset against your face first. Make sure your glasses fit comfortably inside without hitting the lenses. Next, pull the strap over your head similar to how you would put on a pair of swimming goggles. Adjust the straps and tighten them for a snug fit. 

  • Adjust your IPD:
    Can’t say this enough! Adjust the IPD (Interpupillary Distance) to your liking. All VR headsets have an IPD adjustment, so check the manufacturer's instructions for your VR headset on how to do this. It is best practice to remember your IPD to avoid having to go through the process of calibrating it every time you go into VR. Proper IPD adjustment is crucial for a high-quality VR experience and important for several reasons. 

  • It can help reduce eye strain. If the lenses are too far apart or too close together relative to a user's IPD, it can cause discomfort and even headaches. 

  • Aligning the lenses with your eyes helps ensure that you are looking through the optical centers of the lenses, which is where the clearest and sharpest image is produced. Incorrect IPD settings can result in a blurry or distorted image.

  • A correct IPD setting can enhance the sense of immersion by more accurately representing spatial relationships in the virtual environment, making the immersiveness more convincing.
     
  • Most importantly, it's another tool that can help minimize the potential for motion sickness by providing a more natural visual experience that aligns with the physical cues the body receives.

If none of the above has worked, and wearing your prescription glasses with your VR headset still does not offer an optimal experience, there is still hope for you! You can get custom lenses for your VR headset. These can range from blue-light lenses, anti-glare lenses, prescription lenses, or a combination of them all! You can find prescription lenses at VR Optician for the HP Reverb G2 and the HTC VIVE Focus 3, and also at the VR Lens Lab for both the HP Reverb G2 and the HTC VIVE Focus 3.


Third-Party Lenses: 

If you have a VR headset of your own, it might be beneficial to purchase 3rd party lenses or even prescription lenses to reduce reflections and enhance visibility while using your VR headset. A few advantages of using prescription lenses over keeping your glasses on…

  • One advantage is a potentially wider field of vision. Sometimes wearing a pair of glasses in a VR headset can result in a decreased field of vision. 
  • Another advantage is comfort; more room inside your VR headset means better ventilation and one less thing to worry about when it comes to mental comfort. 
  • The biggest advantage is reducing the chance of scratching the lenses on your glasses or those in your VR headset.   

By focusing on these best practices, achieving optimal visual quality and clarity while wearing a VR headset is absolutely attainable for individuals who wear glasses. By following the above recommendations, users can enhance their VR experience, ensuring it is sharp, comfortable, and immersive. Paying attention to detail when it comes to cleaning lenses, adjusting the headset straps, calibrating the IPD, and taking regular breaks are key steps that everyone, glasses-wearer or not, should incorporate into their VR routine. Remember, the goal is clear vision and comfort, and with the right preparation and knowledge, every user can achieve an optimal VR experience. 

 

James Hay

Written by James Hay