Omnidirectional Virtual Visual Acuity: A User-centric Visual Clarity Metric for Virtual Reality Head-mounted Displays and Environments

Jialin Wang, Rongkai Shi, Xiaodong Li, Yushi Wei, Hai Ning Liang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Users' perceived image quality of virtual reality head-mounted displays (VR HMDs) is determined by multiple factors, including the HMD's structure, optical system, display and render resolution, and users' visual acuity (VA). Existing metrics such as pixels per degree (PPD) have limitations that prevent accurate comparison of different VR HMDs. One of the main limitations is that not all VR HMD manufacturers released the official PPD or details of their HMDs' optical systems. Without these details, developers and users cannot know the precise PPD or calculate it for a given HMD. The other issue is that the visual clarity varies with the VR environment. Our work has identified a gap in having a feasible metric that can measure the visual clarity of VR HMDs. To address this gap, we present an end-to-end and user-centric visual clarity metric, omnidirectional virtual visual acuity (OVVA), for VR HMDs. OVVA extends the physical visual acuity chart into a virtual format to measure the virtual visual acuity of an HMD's central focal area and its degradation in its noncentral area. OVVA provides a new perspective to measure visual clarity and can serve as an intuitive and accurate reference for VR applications sensitive to visual accuracy. Our results show that OVVA is a simple yet effective metric for comparing VR HMDs and environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2024


  • Frame rate
  • Head-mounted displays
  • Image resolution
  • Measurement
  • Measurements
  • Optical imaging
  • Optical sensors
  • Passthrough
  • Render resolution
  • Rendering (computer graphics)
  • Resists
  • Virtual reality
  • Visual clarity
  • Visualization


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