A pain in the Glass: Wearing Google's smartglasses can cause aches

(Google Inc)

(Google Inc)

Relaxnews

, Last Updated: 11:12 AM ET

Google's consultant optometrist confirms that using wearing Google Glass can cause aches due to the position of the headset's display.

When Google developed Google Glass, it decided to place the screen up and to the right of the wearer's natural field of vision. This is great for avoiding obstacles such as other pedestrians on the pavement, or fast-moving cars when crossing the road because the natural line of sight isn't obscured by the display.

However, constantly looking upwards and for long periods of times is not something that most people are accustomed to, and according to Harvard optometrist Dr. Eli Peli, who was recruited by Google as a consultant during the device's development, this is why many new owners of Google Glass are complaining of headaches and other pains. Looking up is not comfortable.

In an interview with Betabeat, he explained: "The only people who look up a lot are some professionals like electricians and painters. Most of us look either straight or down. It's well known that up is less comfortable."

However, he was also at pains to clarify that the sensation is caused by eye muscle strain and therefore cannot be described as being a headache: "To describe it as a headache is inconsistent with how people experience headaches."

This latest development will no doubt serve as fresh and much needed ammunition for those that want Google Glass banned or heavily restricted, but, as Dr. Peli points out, the wearer has to take some responsibility for the eye strain.

Google Glass is meant to be used for seconds at a time. Micro glances upwards to check navigation or a text message. It shouldn't be used as a device for streaming movies or reading e-books. But of course, like all new tech gadgets, owners get carried away over the first few days and overindulge.

Nevertheless, Dr. Peli's comments, first reported on Monday, have led to Google issuing a statement about the issue which recommends that new owners take it one step at a time: "When anyone gets a new pair of glasses or starts wearing them for the first time there is always an adjustment period until people get used to them. For some it's the same with Glass. We encourage Explorers to ease into Glass, just as they would a new pair of glasses. As we note in our Help Center, Glass is designed for micro-interactions, not for staring into the screen, watching Friday night movie marathons or reading 'War and Peace'."


Videos

Photos