VR herpes scare as news reports indicate headset sharing is the cause

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VR or virtual reality might be the ‘in’ thing nowadays as people want to try these cool new gadget but it holds some danger. No, it isn’t about dizzy spelled reported by those who have worn them, but it’s a much scarier one – herpes.

Contracting ocular herpes or herpes of the eye has become one of the trending topics in the gaming world nowadays because there’s a likely possibility that one might be infected with these because of headset sharing, especially during game conferences or festivals. This has made news and caused a lot of fears among gamers recently.

The thought of contracting herpes is the kind of stuff nightmares are made of. Imagine going into a game convention, like the E3, where you tried this cool new invention called VR headsets. However, after a few days, you noticed that your eyes are turning pink or rash on your eyelid. You also feel itchiness around the eye area, watery eyes, and blurry vision. These are just some of the symptoms of eye herpes.

Eye herpes or ocular herpes are caused by the herpes simplex virus, the same virus that causes cold sores. Although it is common, it should not be taken lightly because even just a simple lesion can seriously damage the eye. Despite this, however, it should not cause panic as doctors point out that it is less likely that people will contact them by sharing headsets.

Doctors said that the risk of contracting ocular herpes has very low probability. They cited that there are many instances where people share headsets, like sharing sunglasses or swimming goggles. Dr. Eric Horn, an ophthalmologist from California, said that he has never encountered people contracting the disease through this manner in his 20 years of practice.

Moreover, he added that wearing the headset alone would cause transmission since there’s no part of the headset that comes in direct contact with the eyes. The most likely thing to happen would be if an infected person rubbed his eyes and touched the headset. Even then, it would still be unlikely as long as you practice good hygiene.

Photo Courtesy: Rafael Valentin/Flickr

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