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Can You Wear Glasses with a VR Headset?

Phoebe Jade

Written By:

Phoebe Jade

Updated: 21 May 2024 •  
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Are you an avid gamer who wears glasses? If so, ever wondered whether it’s possible to wear your glasses when enjoying virtual reality (VR) games, videos, and experiences in general?
 
VR with glasses can be tricky, but not impossible. Obviously, you’ll need a VR headset that accommodates your glasses, for starters.
 
In this post, we’ll explore the basics of combining glasses and VR technology, including factors to consider, tips for comfortable, safe wear, and even headset recommendations.
 

Let’s refresh: how do VR headsets work?

There are two primary types of VR headsets: standalone and tethered. A standalone headset is an innovative device that contains everything you need for an immersive adventure, all conveniently housed in one sleek headpiece. On the other hand, a tethered headset acts as a display that is connected directly to a PC or video game console for an unforgettable VR experience.
 
With a standalone VR headset, you can be more mobile as no cables or computers are needed. Such headsets are also more lightweight, comfortable, easier to set up, and affordable than tethered devices. However, with this freedom comes less variety, as the selection of compatible games and applications is more limited.
 
man wearing vr headset

A standalone headset contains everything you need for an immersive adventure in one sleek headpiece.

 
On the other hand, a tethered headset offers an enhanced VR experience with higher-end graphics, accurate space tracking, and the capability to project your view onto a larger screen. However, you’ll need extra equipment like base stations, lighthouse boxes, and a state-of-the-art PC — all of which adds up to a heftier price tag. Also, your movement will be more restricted due to the cable attached.
 
woman using tethered vr headset while playing on the pc

A tethered headset needs extra equipment like base stations, lighthouse boxes, and a state-of-the-art PC. Source: Techspot

 
VR headsets from different companies have variations in parts, but the basic components are the same. They are:
 

Lenses and screens

 
VR headsets are outfitted with two stereoscopic lenses that rotate and transform images into three dimensions, similar to how the human eye perceives its surroundings. Furthermore, built-in head tracking capabilities allow users to explore the VR world in 360° — simply move your head left or right and watch as the visuals follow suit.
 

Various sensors

 
VR headsets allow users to engage with virtual worlds via motion tracking. The technology behind this comes from a range of sensors. When they come together, they provide engaging head-tracking capabilities and can detect how your eyes focus on objects within the simulation. All in all, they allow you to explore simulated environments as if they were real, giving you an immersive experience like no other.
 

Immersive audio

 
By mimicking how we perceive sound in the real world, this technology heightens your audio experience in VR. It does this by letting you hear the audio in relation to distance and space through your VR headsets.
 

Controllers (for most VR headsets)

 
Controllers are what bridge the gap between reality and virtuality, and they range from dual handhelds to motion-tracking sensors.
 

Making your VR headset compatible with your glasses

What factors affect compatibility?

 
Choosing the right VR headset is essential for glasses wearers to enjoy an immersive experience. There are two main things to consider: comfort and clarity.
 
If you wear wider frames, make sure that you find a headset that has more space to accommodate your glasses. Otherwise, you’ll struggle putting the headset on and taking it off, and you’ll be uncomfortable the entire time you wear it. Remember that the gaps between your glasses lenses and the headset’s lenses can vary from one headset to another.
 
You should also consider how you normally wear your glasses. Even if a VR headset offers 8k resolution for both eyes, if its lenses don’t align right with those on your glasses, images will still look blurry and fuzzy. Alignment is key to crystal clear visuals when it comes to VR.
 
glasses and vr headset

Comfort and clarity are the primary considerations when choosing suitable VR headsets for glasses wearers.

 

Common issues of wearing VR headsets with glasses

 
In addition, even if you use a comfortable headset and can see clearly using it, be aware you may still suffer from common issues that glasses wearers have when using VR headsets.
 
These include:
 

 

Pros and cons of wearing VR headsets with glasses

 
Wearing your prescription glasses with your headset means you don’t have to spend extra to buy prescription contacts or VR lenses. Also, if your glasses provide blue light protection, it can be useful against the blue light that comes from your VR headset.
 
On the other hand, you run the risk of scratching the lenses on your specs or your headset, especially if there isn’t enough clearance between your glasses and the headset. In addition, if you move a lot while using a VR headset, its alignment with our specs may be affected.
 
Your VR experience might be interrupted by fuzzy images or become less immersive because you’ll need to readjust your headset and/or glasses.
 

How to wear your glasses with VR headsets

Wearing your glasses under a VR headset just takes 3 easy steps:
 
Step 1:
Before using a VR headset with glasses, clean your glasses by wiping them down with a lint-free microfiber cloth. Then, move them so they’re positioned comfortably on your face. You want to make sure they are snugly in place.
 
Step 2:
Next, clean your headset lenses with a non-abrasive wipe. To ensure that everything in your VR environment looks sharp and crisp, line up both sets of lenses—the ones on your glasses and those from the headset. Finally, adjust the pupillary distance on your headset to align with your glasses lenses.
 
Step 3:
To ensure maximum comfort, you should also take time to adjust the strap of your headset before wearing it. Purchasing spacers can provide extra depth and space for glasses while using VR headsets.
 
spacers can provide extra depth and space for glasses while using VR headsets

Spacers can provide extra depth and space for glasses while using VR headsets. Source: OQ Play

 

Tips for wearing glasses with VR headsets

1. Go for VR headsets that prioritize comfort

 
With the rising popularity of VR, many tech companies have created their own VR headsets. However, not all are suitable for specs wearers. Here are a few we recommend:
 

  • Oculus Quest 2
    This standalone headset was designed with comfortable gaming in mind, especially for glasses-wearers. To make the fit even better, you can insert a spacer that easily slips under the foam facial interface of your device and allows extra breathing room. To ensure a comfortable fit, Oculus suggests using glasses that measure no more than 142 mm wide and 50 mm tall.
     
    While this is great news for smaller frames (no more uncomfortable squeezing), large-framed glasses may have difficulty fitting into the small space of the Oculus Quest 2. Hence, be sure to measure before buying. If the size isn’t up to snuff, third-party adjustable straps are available to boost your comfort levels while using the headset.

 
oculus quest 2 vr headset

Oculus suggests using glasses that measure no more than 142 mm wide and 50 mm tall to ensure a comfortable fit. Source: Rock Paper Shotgun

 

  • HTC Vive Pro 2
    Claiming to offer exceptional freedom-of-movement and adjustable features to accommodate glasses of up to 152 mm in width and 60 mm in height, the HTC Vive Pro 2 tethered VR headset aims to deliver an unparalleled active experience.
     
    However, you should know that the Vive’s interior isn’t as big as its exterior. That means slightly larger heads might find the Vive less comfortable.

 
vive pro 2 klein vr headset

The HTC Vive Pro 2 accommodates glasses of up to 152 mm in width and 60 mm in height. Source: MRTV

 
These are just two of the many different VR headsets available, so make sure you take your time to research as many options as possible.
 

2. Take frequent breaks while wearing VR headsets

 
If you’re a glasses-wearer, it’s important to remember to take breaks and precautions that help protect your eyes. For instance, you can protect yourself from VR-induced eye strain by monitoring how long you spend in the digital realm and do regular exercises for your eyes’ well-being.
 

3. Consider alternatives to glasses

 
Some people with prescription glasses may think they have no choice but to wear their specs with VR headsets. However, they actually have other options, like contact lenses or prescription VR lenses.
 
However, the drawback of wearing contact lenses is that the risk of dry eyes is higher than wearing glasses. Also, contacts cannot protect from blue light, unlike glasses designed for this purpose.
 
As for prescription VR lenses, they are clever solutions that snap right into place and are designed specifically for VR headsets. They’re an easy way to reduce the risk of damaging your headset or glasses lenses. However, they are an additional expense for the user. What’s more, these lenses vary depending on the VR headset, so users may need more than one pair for different headsets.
 

Seeing VR in full clarity with glasses!

To sum it all up, VR with glasses is possible, provided you do ample research. Make sure you measure your glasses so you know how much space your headset should have to accommodate them.
 
Also, remember that prolonged use of VR headsets can have negative effects on your eyes, so make sure you use those headsets in moderation and take steps to protect your eyes.
 
As fun as the world of VR is, none of it matters without clear vision, which can only come from healthy eyes.

Phoebe Jade

Written by:

Phoebe Jade

Phoebe is a registered nurse, licensed teacher and writer who's passionate about creating content that educates and inspires.