June 2017
Volume 58, Issue 8
Open Access
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   June 2017
Effects of Inter-Pupillary Distance Misalignment on Virtual Reality Sickness when using a 3D Stereoscopic Roller Coaster Simulation
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Adam Hickenbotham
    School of Optometry, University of Pikeville, Pikeville, Kentucky, United States
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships   Adam Hickenbotham, None
  • Footnotes
    Support  None
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science June 2017, Vol.58, 5417. doi:
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    • Get Citation

      Adam Hickenbotham; Effects of Inter-Pupillary Distance Misalignment on Virtual Reality Sickness when using a 3D Stereoscopic Roller Coaster Simulation. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2017;58(8):5417.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

Purpose : Despite decades of research with new developments and improvements, using VR viewers to watch 3D stereoscopic displays still causes Virtual Reality (VR) sickness with symptoms such as visual discomfort, headaches, dizziness, and nausea. This experimental study tested the hypothesis that inter-pupillary distance (PD) misalignment is a source of VR sickness.

Methods : Subjects were students (n=65, 38 females, 27 males, mean age±SD = 23.9±2.2 years old) at the Kentucky College of Optometry participating in an optics laboratory as part of the optometry school curriculum. Students rated their subjective levels of dizziness, headaches, nausea, and eye discomfort as none (0), mild (1), moderate (2), or severe (3) before and after using a downloadable VR Roller Coaster software application (app) on their smart phone with a commercially available VR viewer. They recorded how long they could use the app comfortably. The inter-pupillary distance (PD) of the VR viewer was adjusted using three setting methods:
1. Aligning using binocular markers;
2. Adjusting to best visual comfort;
3. Adjusting 5 mm away from the first method.

Results : Mean comfortable viewing times were greatest when aligned using binocular markers (4.9±2.9 minutes), less for alignment based on visual comfort (3.2±2.4 minutes), and least when 5 mm off alignment (2.3±2.1 minutes). The increase in the subjective rating of negative visual symptoms of dizziness, headaches, nausea, and eye discomfort (each category rated on a scale of 0-3) following use of the app was found to be greatest (+1.7) when the PD was misaligned by 5mm (lens≈26.8 D, prism≈13.4Δ), less (+1.4) when PD was aligned based on visual comfort (mean prism±SD = 13.3Δ±11.3Δ), and least (+1.0) when PD was aligned using binocular markers.

Conclusions : The prism created by misalignment of the PD of a VR viewer with the binocular needs of the user can contribute significantly to symptoms of dizziness, headaches, nausea, and eye discomfort. Asking a user to align a VR viewer based only on visual comfort was found to be highly inaccurate. Accurate binocular alignment is one contributing factor to VR sickness, but even when properly aligned users still experienced VR sickness.

This is an abstract that was submitted for the 2017 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Baltimore, MD, May 7-11, 2017.

 

Graph showing symptoms of virtual reality sickness (x-axis) vs subjective rating of severity (y-axis) based on alignment method for virtual reality viewers.

Graph showing symptoms of virtual reality sickness (x-axis) vs subjective rating of severity (y-axis) based on alignment method for virtual reality viewers.

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