Google Warns About Health Risks of Google Glass

June 2, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. strain [streyn] (n.) – a condition of being stressed after doing too much work
Example: I felt the strain of working after performing so many tasks.

2. wearable computer [WAIR-uh-buh l kuh m-PYOO-ter] (n. phrase) – a small electronic device worn by the user as part of his or her overall clothing
Example: Many people want to use wearable computers that are portable and handy.

3. field of vision [feeld ov VIZH-uh n] (n. phrase) – the area seen by the eyes at a specific direction
Example: Wearing a mask can greatly limit one’s field of vision.

4. ophthalmology [of-thuh l-MOL-uh-jee] (n.) – (In medicine) the study of the parts, functions, and diseases of the eye
Example: Having a blind mother inspired him to study ophthalmology.

5. irreparable [ih-REP-er-uh-buh l] (adj.) – cannot be repaired or corrected
Example: The woman’s eye damage is irreparable and may cause blindness.   


Read the text below.

Google is warning potential users that its latest product, Google Glass, may cause eye strain and may not be suitable for children under 13 years of age.

Google Glass is a wearable computer worn like normal eyeglasses. The device communicates with the user through a tiny display located at the right side, just above one’s field of vision. The user needs to look up to see the information being displayed.

According to Google, the device may cause eye strain or headache to some users.  Google also advised children under 13 not to use the product to avoid damaging their eye development. Likewise, Google warns that people who have undergone LASIK eye surgery must consult doctors before using the Glass.

A Google spokesperson said, however, that the company is working closely with ophthalmologists in developing the device. The company also considers safety especially because the device is not yet tested on children.

However, Dr. James Salz, spokesperson of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, expressed his surprise about Google’s warnings. He said that he cannot see a scientific reason why children under 13 might have troubles using the device. He added that children’s eyes mature when the kids become six or seven.

Dr. Salz also compared the experience of using the Google Glass to reading a book with small text for several hours. Although both activities may cause discomfort, they would not do irreparable damage to the eyes.

Dr. Salz thus concluded that any person should try the product to know what its effects are. But generally, he believes that most people can safely use the Google Glass.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think that wearable computers like Google Glass will become popular? Why or why not?
·         For you, what are the advantages and disadvantages of wearable computers? Discuss with your tutor.

Discussion B

·         Should children be allowed to use or have their own personal computers? Why or why not?
·         Why do you think today’s children spend too much time using computers?


June 2, 2013