Comparison of visual fatigue caused by head-mounted display for virtual reality and two-dimensional display using objective and subjective evaluation

This study aimed to evaluate objective and subjective visual fatigue experienced before and after performing a visual task while using a head-mounted display for virtual reality (VR-HMD) and two-dimensional (2D) display. Binocular fusion maintenance (BFM) was measured using a binocular open-view Shack–Hartmann wavefront aberrometer equipped with liquid crystal shutters. Twelve healthy subjects performed the BFM test and completed a questionnaire regarding subjective symptoms before and after performing a visual task that induces low visually induced motion sickness (VIMS). BFM (p = .87) and total subjective eye symptom scores (p = .38) were not significantly different between both groups, although these values were significantly lower after the visual task than before the task within both groups (p < .05). These findings suggest that visual fatigue after using a VR-HMD is not significantly different from that after using a 2D display in the presence of low-VIMS VR content.

Practitioner summary: Objective and subjective evaluation of visual fatigue were not significantly different with the use of a head-mounted display for virtual reality (VR-HMD) and two-dimensional display. These results should be valuable not only to engineers developing VR content but also to researchers involved in the evaluation of visual fatigue using VR-HMD.

Abbreviations: VR: virtual reality; VR-HMD: head-mounted display for virtual reality; BFM: binocular fusion maintenance; BWFA: binocular open-view Shack–Hartmann wavefront aberrometer