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How To Wear Glasses Or Contacts With HTC Vive

May 4, 2016 | vive htc glasses contacts wearing fitting
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A lot of people have yet to receive their Vive and, although it has been confirmed in many places that wearing glasses and contacts works just fine, this report may be helpful to those who still have concerns as it shows measurements of the contours of the face mask. Therefore, if you are at all worried about how your glasses or contacts will work, read on.

These might be a problem, otherwise, you're probably going to be OK. This is, by the way, a fairly accurate depiction of the Vive experience.

Key Measurements

The Vive comes with two face masks. They are easily changed just by pulling the mask away from the headset, at which point you will realize it's just a small piece of foam with Velcro backing. All these measurements show the wide face mask, so this is the largest set of apertures you will have. Some people are creating their own face masks and fitting the back sides with Velcro, but we'll focus on what comes in the box.

Here's the measurement of the mask from side to side. It's a bit hard to read at this size, but the measurements are approximately 140mm or 5.5".

Horizontal Vive face mask measurement with ruler.

Here's the measurement of the vertical at about the center of where your eye will be, 45mm or 1.75".

Vertical Vive face mask eye measurement with ruler.

Here's a measurement of the space between the top of the mask and the nose guard, about 30mm or 1.2".

Vertical Vive face mask nose measurement with ruler.

Here's some glasses that work fine with either the wide mask or the narrow mask, measuring about 125mm lens to lens, or 4.9"; 135mm arm to arm, or 5.3".

Measurement of glasses that work with both Vive face masks.

Challenges

In terms of overall horizontal and vertical size, your glasses will fit unless they have massive hipster frames. As covered in the fitting report, you can adjust the eye relief, or distance between your face and the lenses of the headset, so you won't have issues with being able to use your glasses or scratching your glasses if you fit the headset properly, no matter how thick your glasses are.

The fitting report also covers IPD, which you should be aware of. Your glasses will have a specific IPD and you'll want to exactly match that with the Vive IPD settings. Therefore, ask for this information when getting a new pair of glasses. You want the number in millimeters.

The biggest challenge is unexpected. As you can see from the open mask, the Fresnel lenses in the headset are big and circular. When you look through them, you see a big, perfectly circular display with each eye. If you have small lenses in your glasses, some portion of the Vive field of view, generally the top and the bottom, will be outside your corrected vision.

If you are sporting such glass, you have the same problem in real life, so perhaps you are fine with that, but it seems more noticeable in VR and leads to the somewhat suprising finding that, with the Vive, small glasses may present more noticeable issues than big glasses. The glasses presented in the pictures above suffer from the top and bottom of the field of view being out of focus and add a small bit of twinkly distortion around the rimless edges.

The ideal pair of glasses for Vive VR is probably something that is large, perfectly circular, and possibly rimless depending on size, but it's unlikely you need to get such a pair just for VR.

Prepare to go steampunk if you just got to see it all.

If the arms of your glasses are thick and already somewhat uncomfortable to the sides of your head or ears, the Vive is not going to make that problem any better. As you can see in the pictures, the Vive has cutouts in the mask for the arms to pass through, but you will have Velcro straps encircling your head just about level with the tips of your ears and potentially pressing down on the arms of your glasses. I haven't experienced any issues with this, but it underscores the importance of having your glasses fitted properly to start with.

For those of you who like to fuss with your glasses and just can't stand the slightest smudge, be aware that, with the Vive, you are going to have two sets of lenses to keep clean - those of your glasses and those of the headset. The Vive comes with a small cleaning cloth for its lenses and HTC doesn't recommend you use any solutions or solvents on them. You may want to add a step of making sure all your lenses are clean to your checking-into-VR checklist. Once you get it all on and fit properly, you aren't going to want to take it off again to deal with a smudge on your glasses or the lenses.

Glasses work, though it does get to be a bit of a mess sometimes with glasses, headset, headphone cords, Velcro straps, and cabling, especially if you have long hair. Spend some time working on a good fit and your put-on/take-off procedure before really diving in to minimize frustration.

Contacts

The easiest solution, of course, is just to wear contacts. There are only a couple things you need to think about when wearing contacts with the Vive.

Since you will be moving your head around a lot and perhaps (we hope not) running into stuff, you may want to think about what you are going to do calmly if your contacts become dislodged. You won't be able to reach your eyes immediately with the headset on and just throwing your controllers and ripping it off while stumbling around half blind is probably unwise. Just have a plan (sitting down might be a good start) so you don't do what I would do, which is freak out over the sudden pain or loss of vision in one eye and run in a random direction while yelling and ineffectually slapping at my headset.

Second, there's basically no airflow inside the mask with the Vive on, except for what can get in and out a little open area next to your nose on each side. If lack of air for your eyes is a problem when you wear contacts, you may want to consider glasses or work with your ophthalmologist or optometrist on whatever you need to do. I doubt this is going to be a problem for you, but everyone has different sensitivities. Also, I know that some of you like to push how long you are supposed to wear contacts for, so, if you are already pushing limits, at least think about this if you will jack into VR a lot.

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