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The effect Google Glass could have on your eyes

Sites include . Published on February 25th, 2013. Written by Loic Cobbina.

Google Glass, the mobile device with a camera that can be weared like glasses onto the eyes has been promised for the end of this year. Google fans are excited about the product and awaiting its release impatiently. Google Glass is definitely going to be a revolutionary product that will change the way we view technology today and the way we use it.

Some specialists of the eye are not too exciting about the coming of this new product, having fear that it may have consequences related to the vision of the person using it. It could cause eye strains, neck pains and headache.

According to Dr. Nathan Bonilla-Warford, based on the information Google has released concerning what makes the Glass, one can presume certain things about it. He is a VSP optometrist for Bright Eyes Family Vision. The Google Glass comes up as a variation of the heads-up display technology (HUD) which is not really new. So based on what we already know about the technology it is not that difficult to have an idea of the health risk associated with it.

Dr. Bonilla-Warford added that there may be a physiological impact the glass could have on consumers. That includes dry eyes from reduced blinking and increased eye-strain. He continued saying that in the long run the user may end up with a combination of neck pains and headaches and these can be seen as symptoms of digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome.

For some of us who use computers extensively for our work, we tend to spend long hours in front of the screen. So we already know the discomfort that may come about as a result of prolong hours on our devices: eyestrain. But in the case of the Google Glass it is going to be a wearable device which puts it extremely near to the eye so the chances of getting irritated over time are really higher.

Warford explained that the glass themselves are so close to the eyes that in reality they can’t focus it. What is really happening is that the display itself alters the light to create the impression that the image is two feet away from the user and up on the side. According to him, even that can’t prevent the straining.

According to a Google spokesperson, the company has taken the time to consider and study design comfort and safety and has not yet found any reason to be concerned. Google still continues to carefully look at safety issues related to the use of the device.

Eye strain may not be the real big issue when it comes to Google Glass. According Dr. Michael Ehrenhaus, distraction as a result of using the device might be a much bigger problem. He is a trained cornea, cataract and refractive surgeon. The doctor said there is a lot to learn about this technology but there may not be much of eye straining to worry about. The bigger issue is that one would not want to fall in a manhole because he was busy looking at an image on the glass.

In the past researches that were conducted on pilots and drivers, it was shown that when a person has given his attention to an HUD, he loses track of what is going on around.

Dr. Warford agrees with Dr. Ehrenhaus adding that in the future clinical studies will evaluate how the glasses affect concentration as well as the physiology of the eye after a person has used the device for aN extended period of time.

He said, for now all they can do is extrapolate all they know about visual processing of HUD data, the effect that prolonged usage of the screen has on the eye and the eye movement required to use the glasses. He continued saying that consumers should not expect from this device an experience that is as futuristic as in the concept video. The glass should not be seen as the holy-grail of augmented reality. Google Glass will be more like a phone one can use without having to hold it.

The disadvantage of using a smartphone is that we can’t be using it to check our email, walk on the street and have a chat with an online friend all at the same time. Google Glass gives us that constant contact with the online world but that goes with the real risk of losing track of the real world.

What do you think of the new Google Glass when it comes to the health of the eye? Leave your comment in the section below.

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  1. How much are you willing to pay to own Google Glass?

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