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Google Glasses May Ruin Vision

Update Date: Nov 04, 2014 07:07 PM EST

Google glasses can damage vision, according to a new study.

New research reveals that wearing Google glasses may partially obstruct peripheral vision. 

Researchers said the latest findings are important because head-mounted display systems are growing in popularity. However, their effect on health, especially vision, is largely unknown. 

Lead resarcher Tsontcho Ianchulev, M.D., M.P.H., of the University of California, San Francisco, and his team note that the findings are worrying because peripheral visual field is a main component of vision and essential for daily activities such as driving, pedestrian safety, and sports. Researchers noted that head­ mounted devices obstructs vision significantly more than regular glasses, which cut visual fields and case absolute blind spots, because of their thicker frames.

The latest study involved three healthy individuals with 20/20 best-corrected visual acuity and normal baseline visual fields. Participants were asked to put on wearable device (Google Glass, Google Inc.), following manufacturer's instructions, for an hour-long acclimation period.  Researchers then conducted vision tests with the device and then with a control frame of similar color and temple width.

Researchers in the latest study also analyzed the visual fields of people in Internet pictures wearing the product. Researchers looked specifically at the prism position relative to the pupil.

The study revealed that wearing Google glass produced significant scotomas (blind spots) in all three participants while wearing the device, creating a clinically meaningful visual field obstruction in the upper right quadrant. Researchers noted that the visual impairments found in the study were induced only by hardware and did.

"Additional studies are needed to understand the effects of these devices on visual function, particularly as their use becomes increasingly common," researchers concluded.

The findings will be published November 5 issue of the journal JAMA.

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