Google Glass has been out in the wild for well over a year now, and although it remains in beta, the search giant recently ditched its invitation policy to allow any wannabe Explorer with a spare $1,500 to join up. The more widespread a product becomes, the likelier it is that its various strengths and flaws will become more obvious and exposed, and apparently, long-term use of the unusually-positioned display can lead to muscle fatigue and general eye pain.

It often sounds comical that a tech gadget could have such significant, detrimental effects on health, but you only have to look back at how some suffered at the hands of iOS 7’s parallax animations to realize that these issues are very real.

Because a Glass user must continue looking at a minute display based in the corner of their eye, this can bring about a form of repetitive strain injury, and one Glass Explorer has even led calls for the face computer to be issued with a warning prior to usage.

Harvard optometrist and Google consultant Dr. Eli Peli has been speaking with BetaBeat on the matter, and noted that the unnaturalness of looking upward causes “a discomfort in the eye muscles.” He stopped short of labeling it as a full-blown headache, but certainly enough of a strain to leave a user feeling very uncomfortable after using for sustained lengths of time.

Naturally, as with just about any activity involving a digital display, the best way to avoid these problems is to take regular breaks when using Glass – something that both Dr. Peli and Google recommend. After ‘breaking in’ the head-mounted gadget, so to speak, users may find that their eyes adjust, lessening discomfort and in turn allowing the specs to be worn for longer amounts of time without a rest.

Glass front view

It remains to be seen whether Glass is a product ready for the consumer side of the market, but with progress being made both on the technology itself and the design, there’s little doubt that the Big G is going to roll its the product out to the masses.

When it does, though, one hopes that the necessary design adjustments have been made to lessen the likelihood of eye strain and fatigue.

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