If you're a spectacles wearer then you know the frustrations that come with trying to wear 3D glasses over your prescription pair. The same issue exists with VR headsets too. It's uncomfortable trying to fit virtual reality headsets over the top of your glasses and it can lead to other issues too.
If like us, you hate smudges on your lenses or get frustrated with getting steamed up when playing on your HTC Vive, Oculus Rift or PSVR then you know how frustrating it is to deal with two sets of lenses that can get scratched, smudged or steamy.
The good news is there might be a solution to your problems in the form of tailor-made prescription lenses and adapters for your headset. We've done the legwork for you to make upgrading your headset a breeze.
What are VR prescription lenses?
Prescription lenses for your VR headset are the key to comfortable VR gaming for anyone with eyesight issues. If you're a day-to-day glasses wearer and are cursed with shortsightedness then these lenses work to cut out the middleman. Installing this upgrade to your VR headset means you no longer need to worry about fitting your headset over your glasses. Thus, you'll have a comfortable gaming session without the hassle or discomfort.
Although we've found the HTC Vive to be capable of coping with spectacles, it's still a battle to get the headset on in the first place and there can be some discomfort during play sessions too. Wearing glasses underneath a VR headset often leads to smudges on both the headset lenses and your own spectacles, not to mention problems with lenses steaming up.
Why do you need prescription lens adapters?
A quick search online and you'll soon find a few different sites with people complaining about scratches on their HTC Vive lenses. It seems the standard lenses are easy to scratch and not so easy to replace. Users have said that HTC is asking as much as £200/$200 to replace the lenses that come with the headset if they're damaged. A pretty painful price to pay when you've already forked out plenty for the headset in the first place.
Wearing glasses underneath a headset increases the risk of scratching if you're constantly repositioning the headset or your spectacles in order to get comfortable. If you're wearing the headset tight and close to your face then its far too easy to nick and damage the lenses.
The solution might be prescription lens adapters.
How do VR prescription lenses work?
There are a few different sources for prescription lenses for the various VR headsets out there. One such provider is vr-lens-lab.com, this company provides lens adapters that install quickly and easily over the standard lenses within your headset. This is a great solution, especially if you buy the adapters early on before you damage the original lenses. They sit over the top and are slightly raised up above the standard lenses, meaning there's no risk of scratching the originals.
These lens adapters then simply work as a replacement for your current eyewear, meaning before starting a play session you just need to pop your spectacles off and put the headset on. No more struggles with fit or comfort. The adapters mean you no longer risk your spectacles scratching or damaging the original lenses, which is an added bonus.
Fitting the lens adapters doesn't require any special tools or equipment either, so it's easy for any VR user. The good news is you can pop them back off just as easily, so if you share the headset with other people or like to show off to friends then it's no problem.
How to get upgrade your VR lenses
Upgrading your headset with prescription lenses is simple enough, just follow these steps:
- Make sure you have your latest prescription on hand - we'd recommend getting an eye test first to ensure you have the most up-to-date details.
- Visit VR Lens Lab and select the lenses for your headset: vr-lens-lab.com/lens-adapters/
- Enter your prescription details and place an order.
- Wait impatiently for the lenses to arrive.
How do you install VR lens adapters?
Prescription VR lenses obviously take time to craft in much the same way as your specs, so you'll have to wait a week or two for them to arrive at your door. Inside the box is a neat little storage case and a large cleaning cloth with links to the website.
Taking care to not touch the lenses, remove them from the package and follow these steps (highlighted in the above gallery):
- Unlock the adjustment rings by pulling them out from the side of the headset
- Turn the wheels to increase the depth of the facial interface.
- Remove the face-plate to get a better view inside.
- Insert the adapter over the top of the headset lenses.
- Replace the face-plate and retighten the facial interface.
- Give the lens adapters a quick wipe with the provided cloth
It's worth noting that on the HTC Vive you'll notice a straight edge along two sides. One sits over the straight edge on the original lenses, the other at the top. The adapters have a ridge to them, so they sit snugly over the main lenses and you shouldn't be able to put them on the wrong way around.
What is Blueguard coating?
During the ordering process, you might have noticed an option for Blueguard coating. This is a special coating on the lenses that reflects the harmful blue light radiation emitted by modern screens that's been shown to cause issues with sleep patterns.
This coating is designed to reflect the rays without impacting how you see the colours in the game. If you're worried about blue light then this is a worthwhile addition to the lenses at a small extra cost.
Are prescription VR lenses worth it?
If, like us, you're frustrated with fighting your VR headset when you're ready for a gaming session or have any discomfort caused by smudges on your glasses, steaming up or the extra pressure on your head caused by the spectacle arms being squashed by the headset, then these lenses are worth the upgrade.
We were impressed with how good they are. It takes a minute to get used to - being blind in the real world, but being able to see clearly in the virtual one - but it's a much more comfortable gaming experience.
Since they're only adapters and so easy to fit, there's no need to worry if you like to share your headset with family or friends. You can just pop the prescription lens adapters off when you need to and replace them again when you're going to use it. The handy carry/storage case and the cleaning cloth make storage and cleaning a breeze too.
In our mind, these prescription lens adapters are a worthwhile upgrade for your VR headset. They'll help protect the standard lenses from scratches caused by your glasses and give you a much more comfortable gaming experience every time.
We've seen reports around the web with distortions caused by the lenses, but this is not something we experienced. The quality is surprisingly good and the comfort and fit is great.