A narrative review of immersive virtual reality’s ergonomics and risks at the workplace: cybersickness, visual fatigue, muscular fatigue, acute stress, and mental overload

Alexis D. Souchet, Domitile Lourdeaux, Alain Pagani, Lisa Rebenitsch

In: Virtual Reality 1 Pages 1-32 Springer 7/2022.


This narrative review synthesizes and introduces 386 previous works about virtual reality-induced symptoms and effects by focusing on cybersickness, visual fatigue, muscle fatigue, acute stress, and mental overload. Usually, these VRISE are treated independently in the literature, although virtual reality is increasingly considered an option to replace PCs at the workplace, which encourages us to consider them all at once. We emphasize the context of office-like tasks in VR, gathering 57 articles meeting our inclusion/exclusion criteria. Cybersickness symptoms, influenced by fifty factors, could prevent workers from using VR. It is studied but requires more research to reach a theoretical consensus. VR can lead to more visual fatigue than other screen uses, influenced by fifteen factors, mainly due to vergence-accommodation conflicts. This side effect requires more testing and clarification on how it differs from cybersickness. VR can provoke muscle fatigue and musculoskeletal discomfort, influenced by fifteen factors, depending on tasks and interactions. VR could lead to acute stress due to technostress, task difficulty, time pressure, and public speaking. VR also potentially leads to mental overload, mainly due to task load, time pressure, and intrinsically due interaction and interface of the virtual environment. We propose a research agenda to tackle VR ergonomics and risks issues at the workplace.


Souchet2022_VirtualReality.pdf (pdf, 2 MB )

German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence
Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz