Since head-mounted displays came to the consumer market, they became a part of the everyday lives of thousands of people. Like with desktop screens or hand-held devices before, the public is concerned with the possible health consequences of prolonged usage and questions the adequacy of the default settings.

It has been shown that the brightness and contrast of a display should be adjusted to match the external light to decrease eye strain and other symptoms. Currently, there is a noticeable mismatch in brightness between the screen and the dark background of an HMD that might cause eye strain, insomnia, and other unpleasant symptoms. In this paper, we explore the possibility of significantly lowering the screen brightness in the HMD and successfully compensating for the loss of visual information on a dimmed screen.

We designed a user study to explore the connection between the screen brightness in HMD and task performance, cybersickness, users’ comfort, and preferences. We have tested three levels of brightness: the default Full Brightness, the optional Night Mode, and a significantly lower brightness with the original content and content processed with a proprietary algorithm to compensate for the brightness loss. Our results suggest that although users still prefer the brighter setting, the HMDs can be successfully used with significantly lower screen brightness, especially if the low screen brightness is compensated.


The resulting publication “Towards Eye-Friendly VR: How Bright Should It Be?”¬†was published at IEEE VR 2019.

Funding provided by

  • IRYStec Software inc.