How Google Glass Could Be Damaging To Your Eye Health

How Google Glass Could Be Damaging To Your Eye Health

Google Glass is arguably the most hyped piece of technology to come along since the iPhone. It could mark the beginning of a wearable technology revolution (along with the new Apple watches), or it could be a trend that will be gone in a few months. Whether or not it will change the communication landscape the way the iPhone did is still up in the air. The device is still in its very early stages and many are undecided about its value and how best to implement it. One of the big questions out there is also one of the most basic ones and has to do with its safety: can Google Glass harm your eyesight?

Ways in Which Google Glass Could Potentially Harm Eye Health

Injury to Children

  • Google published a warning on the Google Glass website stating that the device was not to be used by kids under 13. The idea was that it has the potential to harm developing vision. Additionally, Google warns that kids may break the device or harm themselves.

Using Glass Shortly After Lasik

Google suggests that you should find out from your doctor if there could be any risks to your eyes by using Glass when you have recently had Lasik performed.


  • Eyestrain is one of the most prevalent eye health issues for wearers of Google Glass and this problem exist for wearers of glasses in general as well as those who work in front of a computer screen. According to Forbes Magazine, between 64 and 90 percent of office workers suffer from computer eyestrain. This type of eyestrain is also called computer vision syndrome. In the case of someone who works on a computer, their eyes have to continuously focus on the screen and adapt to changes in what they are seeing. This means that a lot is being asked of their eye muscles. Additionally, researchers have long known that working on a computer was harder on the eyes than reading paper since computer screens add factors like glare and flicker to the viewing experience. It is expected that repeatedly looking at Google Glass’s heads up display will cause the same issues.


  • Headaches are another problem faced by people who spend a lot of time looking at monitors or the screens of their phones. Some early users of Google Glass have already complained about pain resulting from using the device. It is thought that the headaches are the result of wearers having to look up to see the display.

Dry Eyes

  • Another physiological problem that could be caused by Google Glass is the problem of dry eyes that result from blinking too infrequently. Like eyestrain and headaches, this problem is already seen in those who spend long hours looking at computer screens.

Visual Confusion and Dizziness

  • Heads up displays have long been known to cause confusion due to the fact that each of the wearer’s eyes is being presented with a different reality. This can cause them to misalign producing side effects that include dizziness and even nausea in more extreme cases.

Expert Opinions

Steve Mann is a professor at the University of Toronto and an expert in heads-up displays who has been wearing them for over 35 years. He says that he has concerns about Google Glass and similar forms of wearable technology. He believes that if they are poorly configured, they could harm wearers’ eyesight. From personal experience acquired by wearing systems he designed, he found that even a slight misalignment could cause distortions of vision when the device was removed.

Mann states that Google Glass has a problem related to the fact that the design involves viewing the display from one eye. The designers have had to make the display appear to be further away so that the wearer will be able to focus on it and they have used fixed focus lenses to do this. Mann maintains that this is a bad idea. Having one eye focused on the display and the other changing focus to look elsewhere can result in serious eye strain.

Professor of ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, Eli Peli has been a consultant on Google’s Glass project for two years. He says that the glasses “have a very minimal impact” on the field of vision and that wearers faced a very low risk of accidents due to visual impairment. He counters Mann’s assertions stating that the technology used for Google Glass is newer and different to Mann’s older systems. He states that it is likely that wearers’ eye muscles will adapt to the display.

Reassurance from Google

In a recent statement to tech blog Gizmodo, a Google spokesperson said that the company took comfort and safety into consideration during the creation of Google Glass. They also said that ophthalmologists were involved in its development and that they see no reason to be concerned. However, they also recommended that users “ease into” their use of Google Glass to minimize potential issues.

It is important to adopt any new technology carefully, especially when it has the potential to cause health issues. If you have any eye problems as a result of wearing Google Glass, stop using the device and consult your eye doctor nearest you.

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