Virtual Reality headsets offer an immersive experience that everyone should enjoy – including those of us who wear glasses! Wearing VR headsets over glasses can be tricky, but below we’ve broken down which models are most compatible in every category of VR headsets – from the simple Google Cardboard style (using any smartphone), all the way up to high-quality, external console-driven models like the Oculus Rift. Whether you just want to get your feet wet in the fast-moving world of VR goggles, or ready to dive right in, read further to learn all you need to know about how your eyeglasses can integrate with these awesome devices!
Basic mobile VR goggles for glasses
The most basic and introductory VR headsets consist of two lenses and a compartment to rest your smartphone, be it Android or iPhone, etc. The Google Cardboard, in fact, is true to it’s name – literally made out of cardboard, and as simple as it gets. But there are some other nice-to-have features that are present at this introductory level, some of which become almost mandatory if you’re planning on wearing eyeglasses underneath. The VR headsets below offer roomy interiors for almost all styles of prescription frames, comfortable padding for lengthy viewing sessions, as well as focal adjustment of the lenses themselves for fine-tuning.
Top pick: Homido V2
Price: $75 – 80
Focal adjustments: Yes
The Homido is a high quality mobile VR headset, and with the spacious interior – well-suited for those who need to wear glasses underneath. One of the nice features on this that some lesser mobile VR headsets lack is the “action button”, allowing you to touch your phone screen without removing it from the headset itself. Certain games and applications require this sort of interaction, so with the Homido, you’re prepared. It fits almost every smartphone on the market, and has both adjustable pupil distance AND object distance knobs, which helps to custom-focus the image for the individual, and combats eye fatigue. In fact, depending on your prescription, eyeglasses may not be necessary when using these adjustment knobs to tweak the VR lenses to fit your needs.
Runner-Up: Merge VR
Price: $55 – 63
Focal adjustments: Yes
The look of the Merge VR is far different than others on the market – appearing retro and blocky, almost toy-like. But don’t be fooled, because it comes packed with an assortment of high-grade features. It’s constructed of a soft but rigid foam, meaning it’s light, durable, and fits comfortably on the face. It has two action buttons, meaning you may be able to get away with not needing a separate controller for some action games, and has dual lens adjustment capabilities (like the Homido). What makes this the second best VR headset for glasses wearers? The flexible nature of the foam allows you to squeeeeze in even larger eyeglass frames, but users have experienced fogging issues due to lack of enough ventilation holes.
Medium-range VR goggles for glasses
If you’re looking for a higher-quality experience with more features and a robust platform (but without breaking the bank), the mid-range might be just the ticket. To make things easier, there’s really only one mid-range VR headset- and that’s the Samsung Gear VR (below).
Top pick: Samsung Gear VR
Price: $95 – 100 (includes remote)
Requires: Samsung Galaxy S6, S7, or S8 phone
Focal adjustments: Yes
Recommended Accessories: Lens protector
To start, the GearVR has a roomy interior and comfortable padding, making it a great VR headset for glasses wearers. Enjoy complete 360 degree immersion and a super wide field of vision, backed by the same brains and technology behind Oculus Rift. What sets the 2017 model apart from past years’ is the included hand-held controller, making navigation much easier and opens up many possibilities for gaming and interactivity. If there’s any downside to the Gear VR, it’s that it requires a Samsung device, meaning iPhone fans are out of luck. That aside, the Gear VR is simply the best mobile VR headset, and fits over glasses with ease. But if you don’t want to be constrained by the pixel density of a mobile phone, you may want to consider upgrading to one of the PC-base or “constant-base” VR systems noted below.
Top quality VR systems and using with glasses
There are three major players in the upper quality sphere of VR headsets – the Oculus Rift, the HTC Vive, and the Playstation VR. Compared the the Basic and Mid-level VR headsets, these are going to blow your socks off.
Top pick: Playstation VR
Price: $490 – 510
Requires: PlayStation 4 System
Recommended accessories: Lens protector
Interior dimensions (W x H x D):
15.5cm x 7.5cm x 6cm
All of the high-end VR glasses are impressive, and each has a library of games, videos and apps to enjoy. But the Playstation VR is our pick for the best VR goggles for glasses wearers. The unit sits super secure, with most of the weight on your forehead, and fits comfortably over almost every style of eyeglass frames we could find. Even the depth of the interior is adjustable to accomodate deeper/thicker glasses. Lastly, its 1080p display, running at up to 120 frames per second is going to make your smartphone screen look prehistoric. The Rift and Vive (below) require a PC with certain specs and installation of third-party software, but the PS VR setup is plug and play with the Playstation 4 system. Not to mention all of the non-VR game possibilities! That’s a win-win for us.
Important note: the Playstation 4 Camera is needed for VR to work, and the Move controllers are highly recommended (the linked bundle package contains everything you need). If you already have those two components, you can simply get the headset by itself for about $380.
2. HTC Vive
Packed with 70 sensors for 360 degree head-tracking, the HTC Vive comes in second on our list for VR goggles to wear over glasses. The unit sits a little more on the front of your face, occasionally pressing down on the temples of your eyeglasses. But alas, the Vive was supposedly designed to accomodate most eyeglasses, although its interior dimensions are a little smaller than the PS VR above. One of the best features for us bespeckled folk is the dial on front, with which you are able to adjust the IPD (inner pupillary distance) for extra clarity. Depending on your IPD info (available from your prescription or your optometrist), you may not need to wear eyeglasses at all underneath. The HTC Vive’s IPD range is 60.2mm to 74.5mm.
Unlike the Playstation VR, both the Vive and the Oculus Rift require a VR-ready PC to power the experience, the specs of which are quite high compared to what the average PC owner has. That being said, the HTC Vive allows you to walk around a space up to 15’x 15′, making it the most “active” VR headset of the bunch. You can move, jump, and duck – which makes the gaming opportunities endless. Make sure you have a relatively empty room to utilize this feature!
3. Oculus Rift
The Oculus Rift has been around the longest of the three high-end headsets, but this old boy still has some features up his sleeve. With a 2160 x 1200 resolution, its the highest pixel density on the list, meaning the image is crisp. That is, when you can see it. The Rift still has room for many eyeglasses, but is reported to be one of the least comfortable, and sadly, no focus adjustment knobs on the consumer model. If your frames happen to fit (yay!), you’ll need to need to tighten the straps significantly to block out any light on the sides (distracting), just adding to the uncomfortable nature of wearing this VR goggle over your glasses.
But, all is not lost. If you’re going to be the only user of your VR headset, check out VR Lens lab for custom prescription lenses, available for the PSVR, HTC Vive, AND the Oculus Rift. But until then – good luck, glasses-wearers, and stay comfortable!