Headaches and back pain: users say Apple Vision Pro hurts

  • Some users have taken online to complain that wearing the Apple Vision Pro headset for even an hour can cause painful side effects.
  • One user said it caused the skin under her eyes to darken, while another claimed it caused pain at the base of his skull.
  • Overuse of any VR/mixed reality headset is not recommended by health practitioners.

Users of the Apple Vision Pro headset are claiming that even a few hours of use leads to headaches, darkness around the eyes, eyestrain, pain in the neck, and even back pain.

According to MarketWatch, users have taken online to share their adverse physical effects from wearing the headset, and point to Apple’s own material that the device can cause puffy and dry eyes, as well as creating dark under-eye circles after usage.

Tech giant Apple launched its wildly expensive Apple Vision Pro mixed reality headset at the start of 2024. The device boasts several interesting and innovative features, including a cinema-like film viewing mode, digital avatars for FaceTime, VR games and encounters like seeing dinosaurs move about your living room and productivity features that allow your vision to become your personal computer.

Social media began to swell with footage of users of the Vision Pro after its launch, and with Apple already planning to launch more versions of the device worldwide, it is likely to be doing well for the Cupertino-based company.

One user, Emily Olman, who bought her Vision Pro for $3 500 (over R70 000) in February, said that it gave her two black eyes after she wore the headset for the first time for an hour at most.

Another user, Ian Beacraft, CEO of consulting firm Signal and Cipher, told MarketWatch that after using the device for two hours he felt a “soreness” at the base of his skull and upper back.

Officially, Apple says that the “majority” of customers have given the device good ratings, and only a minority have been complaining about side effects from wear. It directs users who experience soreness to the device’s guidelines.

“As you become acclimated to using your Vision Pro, take a break every 20 to 30 minutes, then adjust the time based on your comfort level,” official Apple documentation recommends.

“If symptoms persist, consult your medical provider.”

Overuse of VR headsets can lead to physical problems

This sounds like run-of-the-mill VR headset advice. Any user of VR should expect some effects from wearing the technology for any stretch of time. For example, reviewing the PS VR2 gave us feelings of motion sickness almost immediately.

It takes time for the human body to get used to any VR headset, and even then, prolonged use is not recommended by health practitioners.

“You are wearing a computer strapped to your face,” explains Stanford University researcher Jeremy Bailenson. He recently published a study about the effects of mixed reality headset use on the human body.

Motion sickness is the first problem, but this can be followed by “temporary general discomfort” if you use a VR headset for too long. Followed by a “distraction from the real world” and “simulator sickness.”

[Image – Photo by Roméo A. on Unsplash]


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