Ophthalmologist Eli Peli, Google’s official consultant optometrist for Google Glass, raised concern earlier this month when he said Google’s wearable display could cause eye pain and discomfort for its wearers.
Now, Peli has taken to Google+ to “clarify a few points,” saying that he’s found no evidence of Glass actually posing any harm.
“First and foremost, I have researched both HMDs and Glass for years and have found no evidence of any health risks,” he wrote.
Peli previously told BetaBeat that Glass could cause discomfort because wearers need to look up in order to use it, which feels unnatural for most people.
“The only people who look up a lot are some professionals like electricians and painters,” he told BetaBeat at the time. “Most of us either look straight or down. It’s well known that up is less comfortable.”
Peli specified that Glass wearers are likely to experience eye strain rather than headaches, especially as they’re getting used to the eyewear. Glass isn’t meant to be worn for long periods of time, but Peli noted that since new users may mess around with it more than usual they may experience some strain.
In his more recent Google+ post, Peli now says that “very few” Glass wearers have reported discomfort after wearing Glass. Any strain typically disappears after the first day or two, Peli wrote.
Peli isn’t the only ocular expert that’s expressed concern over Glass, even though he’s since revised his outlook on the matter. Sina Fateh, an ophthalmologist who has filed at least 30 patents related to wearable displays, told Forbes that these types of devices can put unnecessary stress on the eyes.
“In the same way that we can get fatigue in our hands, we can get fatigue in our eyes,” he said to Forbes.
Google unveiled Glass at its I/O developers conference in 2012, and although the device is now available throughout the US.., it’s still technically in beta. The company simply expanded the Explorer program to invite anyone willing to drop $US1,500 on its smart eyewear.
Despite Google’s massive marketing efforts, Glass and wearable displays in general still haven’t caught on with mainstream consumers. There are a few reasons for this — one being that there simply aren’t enough devices in the market, and the other being that wearable displays may feel unnatural for those who aren’t used to wearing glasses regularly.
“People are doing whatever they can to not wear glasses, whether its contacts or Lasik treatment,” Chris Jones, VP principal analyst with Canalys Insight, said in a previous interview with Business Insider. “And this is kind of going back on that.”