What is the Vision Pro doing optically?

I’m fascinated to hear from Vision Pro users how vision correction works and doesn’t work. @xdev has written some about how he can still use his hard contacts, though with less eye-tracking accuracy, and @mcohen was just telling me privately that he needs prisms in one lens of his glasses, which the Vision Pro lenses won’t do, so he sees double in that eye while using the Vision Pro. Unless he moves the window very close in virtual space, which turned out to be a big win for him.

I wrote about this back in June, and I’m still curious about what’s really going on in the optics of the Vision Pro. It seems that it’s somehow tweaked to be in focus only with 20/20 (roughly speaking) vision, but is there more to that than software? My eyes focus really well at a couple of inches, which is just about how close the screens really are.

Is there an optometrist out there who might know more about what’s going on?


I have heard that the (fixed) focal distance for the AVP is 1.3 meters. The physical distance is a few cm but the optics make it appear to the eye as though the screen is 1.3 m away. This is surprising to me - I would have thought that setting it at infinity would make more sense. Then people with good distance vision but poor close up vision ( like people with presbyopia or with cataract replacement lenses) would have no trouble. I have cataract lenses and have very good vision at distances >20 feet so would need “reader” lenses in the AVP. (But I doubt I will ever buy one, so this point is moot).


This was my assumption too, Adam. And after completing the demo I asked if I could try the device without the prescription inserts they used, based on analyzing my eyeglasses. (Like you, I’m near signted.)

However, to my surprise and disappointment, without the corrective lenses the Vision Pro displays were about as blurry as my regular vision.

I did buy a Vision Pro, and had to wait a week for Zeiss to ship my lenses. During that time I was able to use the device, but not well, as my natural tendency to squint in order to improve my vision seemed to interfere with the eye tracking. (Not always, but often enough to be annoying.) Now that my lenses have arrived, things are crystal clear and the device works much more smoothly.


Hoping that Adam’s info was not definitive, and while in a financial dither over whether to purchase a Vision Pro, I looked into the specific requirements for Zeiss to provide the required lenses for those of us without naturally 20/20 eyesight at their Prescription guide.

My glasses have a prism correction, without which I have some double vision. Before I got my new prescription, I couldn’t play tennis very well, although I could – with some unease – drive a car.

The last question on the Zeiss checklist is, “Do you wear glasses with prism correction?” The default answer is “NO”, but if you click “YES”, you get this response: “We’re really sorry, but at the moment ZEISS Optical Inserts cannot provide vision correction for prism. Unfortunately, we are currently unable to produce ZEISS Optical Inserts for you.”

So, no Vision Pro for me. (My bank account sighed with relief.)

1 Like

Why were you surprised that without something Apple specifically recommends, the device didn’t work?

Well, it did work, just not optimally. This is worth noting. It took a week for my lenses to arrive and I was able to use the device somewhat while waiting.

Secondly, as I stated, the reason for the surprise is what Adam expressed. The screens are well within clarity range of the nearsighted.

1 Like