Why do VR and AR headsets hate my prescription glasses now? | All Tech Sir

I used to be at HTC’s new presentation Vive XR Elite headset on the Wynn Resort in Las Vegas, able to expertise the smallest-looking mixed-reality VR glasses I’ve ever seen. Effectively, I attempted. I used to be requested to take away my glasses as a result of – don’t be concerned, I used to be advised – this gear has its personal prescription changes inside. I knew what was going to occur subsequent as a result of I’m noticed this story occur over and over and over earlier than.

XR Elite stops at -6. I am -8.25. In prescription parlance, which means my excessive myopia shouldn’t be supported.

So I performed fuzzy VR till I attempted to semi-successfully pack my thick glasses in… which simply made my face harm.

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The very small Vive XR Elite doesn’t fit my eyes

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Everyone wants to shrink their big, bulky, weird VR and AR rigs to look like regular glasses. There’s one catch: if you do, they now become your glasses. And if they are your glasses, they must work with your prescription.

I’ve been trying to open this puzzle box of wearable eye gear ever since Google Glass came along. I have really bad myopia. I like wearing glasses. To test Google Glass back in 2013, I had to use contacts.

VR glasses with lenses inside and a dial with numbers outside

Inside the Vive XR Elite: Prescription adjustments allow a wide field of view to fit… but not wide enough for me.

Scott Stein/CNET

My eyes are fine for VR and AR

I’ve written about this before, many times in fact. And yet, in the 2016-22 VR era, I was granted a reprieve. The VR rig learned to rest on top of my glasses, allowing me to try out all kinds of technology (even HoloLens 2 and Meta Quest Pro) and experience them acutely. Some headsets still support glasses well: the Lynx-R1, a mixed reality headset I just tried, has a simple folding visor that was perfect for me and my big glasses. The PlayStation VR 2 is also perfectly designed to accommodate my vision needs and has a large rubberized area where I can rest my glasses.

But I feel a problem coming, at least for me. I brought smaller glasses to CES 2023 that fit better with VR headsets, but I didn’t bring contact lenses. I didn’t want to stick my fingers in my eyes in a flu and COVID spreading super show. Would you like to? I knew things could get weird. And yes, it turns out that many glasses and headphones are now moving to prescription packs. And most of them are -8, just below what I need.

This happened with Magic jump 2. It happened with Vuzix. It happened with TCL with a VR headset. Do I have to be a contact lens guy now?

It is certain that my problem is related to my extremely poor vision, and it happens in demos where the correct recipe cannot be guaranteed. The future of headphone prescription services looks like it’s coming fast. Maybe getting the right lenses is easy. However, this means I have to get new lenses for every headset I use (universal fit seems unlikely), and it also means I can’t show off the rig unless they magically have what I need.

TCL glasses on my face

I’m trying TCL’s latest AR glasses in Vegas: They have prescription lenses, but at least in the demo area they didn’t quite meet my needs. I’m still a bit aloof.

Scott Stein/CNET

You may have the same problem

That’s perhaps a bigger problem than my demo-specific technical editor complaints. The Vive XR Elite was a conscious decision to go smaller, and I’ve been told that the worry about higher prescription levels is basically a weird concern. Maybe companies are trying to downsize their hardware at all costs, hoping that when it finally becomes mass market in a few years, the lens situation will magically take care of itself. In the meantime, I see the future in more expensive hardware that is less available. Not a good combination for an industry that tries hard not to drive people away.

Apple may face this same issue based on reports VR and AR headsets there will also be recipe appendices. Apple better figure it out. It would make sense for the company to become like Warby Parker and literally turn Apple Stores into optical shops, as North did. Focals glasses before being acquired From Google.

Regular optical shops are not the solution. Meta’s Ray Ban stories cannot be serviced for lens replacement, although they are sold at LensCrafters. I know: I tried on the prescription lenses that Meta sent me to test. I was turned away.

I just hope it gets better because I’m worried about how I’ll experience the next wave of VR/AR devices if I can’t wear them over my eyes. And even though I’m an outsider, I know I’m not the only one.

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