Google glass: could it cause blind spots?

Google glass: could it cause blind spots?

"Never miss a moment" with Google Glass, claims the software and computing giant behind the creation. But a new study finds this may not the be the case. Researchers from the University of California-San Francisco say wearing the head-mounted device may partially obstruct users' peripheral vision.

Researchers say Google Glass may obstruct the peripheral vision of users.

Co-author Dr. Tsontcho Ianchulev and colleagues publish their findings in JAMA.

Wearable technology is all the rage. According to a recent market report, the wearable electronics and technology market is expected to grow by almost 25% by 2020, to nearly $12 billion. And taking a piece of this pie are wearable, head-mounted computers, such as Google Glass.

Launched last year, Google Glass consists of a headset that sits like a pair glasses, on which there is an optical display just above the right eye. The user can take pictures of what is in their range of sight, create videos, get directions and complete numerous other actions, simply by instructing the device to do so.

But how does Google Glass impact a user's vision? Dr. Ianchulev and colleagues wanted to find out.

Google glass 'may overlap pupillary axis, causing blind spots'

In April of this year, the researchers assessed the visual function of three participants with 20/20 vision as they wore Google Glass for 60 minutes. This was then compared with participants' visual function as they wore standard glasses with similar-sized frames for the same amount of time, and when they wore no glasses.

The team also analyzed 132 photographs of individuals wearing Google Glass. This was to determine the position of the display screen relative to a user's pupil.

The researchers found that in all three participants, Google Glass caused blind spots, or scotomas, in the upper right area of the eye. This means that their peripheral vision was partially blocked - a type of vision that we use for day-to-day activities, including driving, crossing the road and playing sports.

From analyzing the photographs, the team found that the device is positioned near or overlaps many of the users' pupillary axis - a line that passes through the center of the pupil, perpendicular to the cornea's surface. This, the researchers say, is what may have caused the blind spots in participants.

Commenting on their findings, the researchers say:

To our knowledge, this is the first evaluation of the effect of wearable electronics with head-mounted display on vision.

The device created a clinically meaningful visual field obstruction in the upper right quadrant. Defects were induced by the frame hardware design only and were not related to a distracting effect of software-related interference."

The researchers note that an important limitation to their study is the small number of participants included, as well as the lack of data on other visual measures.

They say, however, that "additional studies are needed to understand the effects of these devices on visual function, particularly as their use becomes increasingly common." recently reported on a study detailing the first case of "Google Glass addiction" in a 31-year-old enlisted service member.

Google Glass may obstruct peripheral vision: Study (Video Medical And Professional 2020).

Section Issues On Medicine: Medical practice