Google Glass causes eye muscle pain and headaches

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Google has issued warnings to people not to use its Glass eyewear for extended time periods as it could cause pain.

The company emphasised that the technology is not meant to be worn while reading ‘War and Peace’ and it takes time to become used to it.

This response comes after complaints about pain after wearing Google Glass, by some users.

The company’s optometrist stated that the problem is caused by the positioning of the technology, as it forces users to constantly look up.

A Google spokesman stated that when anyone obtains a new pair of eyeglasses, it takes a while for them to adjust to it, and this applies to Glass as well. The company is encouraging users to treat Glass the same way they would start wearing a new pair of eyeglasses. The spokesman said that in their help centre they have noted that Glass is designed for micro-interactions, not for staring into the screen for long periods of time, like watching movies.

The College of Optometrists has asked for anyone buying Google Glass to have their eyes tested before they commence use. A clinical adviser from the college, Dr Susan Blakeney, said the optometrist will be able to offer advice as they can check how the position of Glass will affect you and determine how long you should wear Glass before taking a break.

Dr Eli Peli, a Harvard optometrist, who was a consultant to Google during the development phase of Glass, said it was not usual for people to look up for extended time period and doing so could become uncomfortable. He said that only certain people look up for extended periods due to their jobs. It is known that looking up is more uncomfortable than looking down or straight.

He further stated that people generally look up for about one second until their head moves to view the object at eye level. He compared the use of the technology to standing on a single leg for long periods of time. Doing this will cause tension because this is not how you normally use your legs. So if you use Glass for longer than one minute, you are holding your eyes at that level for 60 times longer that what it normal.

Although some people have complained about headaches, Dr Peli stated the pain was eye muscle discomfort.

Google believes that discomfort has only been experienced by a small number of users. Dr Peli said the pain normally lasted about one week until the users’ eyes adjust.

Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, described the use of the device as ‘weird’, as was chatting to the voice-activated technology in public.

The device was on sale for one day in the US during April and sold for $1500. It was initially sold to 8000 individuals during 2013 as part of Google’s Explorer programme.

UK developers may gain access to the device in the next month.

Campaigners have criticised Google for the lack of privacy when Glass and other reality gadgets are being used.

Image Credit: Max Braun

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