As one of the most revolutionary new gadgets released to the public this decade, Google Glass has earned instant popularity among celebrities, tech-fanatics and anyone with a little spare cash to splurge.  The device works by offering an alternative, augmented reality for the user who wears the small frame around the head. With an attached microphone, camera, video recorder and Bluetooth technology incorporated into a small hands-free device, the gadget demonstrates a huge leap in virtual technology. It is activated by speech, allowing the user to ask a question or say a simple command such as “take a photo” and the device will capture the moment as seen through their own eyes.

However, recent studies suggest that although the Google Glass can support real vision for a never-before-seen virtual experience, it may in fact cause damage to your eyesight. Google has warned that the device may cause eye strain and headaches and has advised that children under the age of 13 should not wear the new gadget. Just as a child playing computer games, recent concerns have been raised about the dangers of looking at a screen all day.

When looking at how the Google Glass works, it’s easy to see how it could demand more of our eyesight. The central field of vision is composed of a small projector and a prism held in place in front of one eye. The mini projector projects an image for the wearer which can take some time for eyes to adjust to. However, as the eye takes time to adjust to the new vision, the muscles behind the eye can become strained, resulting in tired, dry eyes and irritation. It may also cause headaches as additional strain is put on the optic nerve. To minimize the risks, Google advises that users limit their time wearing the Glass and, just with using a computer, take regular breaks.

Although Google have worked closely with ophthalmologists during development of the device, it is advised that children under the age of 13 should not be allowed to use Glass for fears it could harm their developing vision. Under-13s are prohibited from connecting Glass to their own account.

If you’re concerned about the health risks, seek advice from your optician.

Whilst the internet has been bombarded with images of tech bloggers playing with their new gadgets, other concerns regarding the privacy and security have arisen which may add an additional risk beyond any health concerns. Researchers have already demonstrated the ease with which the devices can be ‘hacked’, with hackers able to gain access to a personal device within just a few minutes. The primary concerns involve the possibility that hackers could view private and secure information as it is used or entered by the user. For example, with access to Glass, they could easily take video or audio recordings of the wearer entering pin codes, passwords or even using their front door keys. The way Glass is currently designed leaves it particularly vulnerable to viruses and other hacking methods, leaving the users at risk.

However, despite the health and security concerns associated with this new gadget, it has, nonetheless, been hailed as a pioneering success. Though difficult to get your hands on, the new Google Glass is definitely worth experiencing as the world around you can be transformed into a new virtual reality.