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Is 3D Bad For Your Eyes?

POSTED ON October 18, 2010

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By now it is no surprise that 3D is back and playing a larger role in how we view traditional media. Everything from movies, to here recently television and even talks of game systems are among the things being affected by the 3D revolution.  You can even buy eye glasses with 3D lenses instead of just using the ones offered in theatres. This 3D craze may be something new as of ...

By now it is no surprise that 3D is back and playing a larger role in how we view traditional media. Everything from movies, to here recently television and even talks of game systems are among the things being affected by the 3D revolution.  You can even buy eye glasses with 3D lenses instead of just using the ones offered in theatres.

This 3D craze may be something new as of late but the technology of 3D is not.  3D has existed in some form since the 1950’s. Beginning in Hollywood cinema, 3D took a hit due to the cost of hardware and the process to produce 3D films.  3D made a slight comeback in the 80’s and the 90’s with the creation of IMAX theatres and here recently with the success of movies like ‘Avatar’ and ‘Toy Story 3.’

Now that companies like Samsung have released 3D televisions, and Nintendo is planning to release their new game console, the 3DS, it raises the question among eye care doctors at vision eye centers and others, how will 3D affect our vision?

The Samsung 3D LED TV comes with a health warning cautioning that certain flashing images or lights could induce epileptic seizure or stroke, and that “motion sickness, perceptual aftereffects, disorientation, eye strain and decreased postural stability” may result.  A CNN Health article titled “Can 3D movies, television make you sick?” by Elizabeth Landau states that doctors say the percentage of people who should worry about significant adverse effects is small, especially the possibility of seizure. More commonly, people may experience dizziness or other discomfort after watching something in 3D, including a feature film.  This is crazy though-getting sick from watching 3D!?

Symptoms of nausea, headache and fatigue may result because 3D causes the eyes to move in an unnatural way, said Dr. Lisa Park from New York University Langone Medical Center in Landau’s article.  Dr. Tavel Indianapolis eye care doctors and those at our other locations suggest monitoring screen-time when watching 3D movies or shows to reduce eye strain symptoms and to get yearly eye examinations.  Yearly eye examinations at vision eye centers, like those at Dr. Tavel, can detect if eye strain symptoms are from excessive screen time, 3D affects, or otherwise and if glasses and lenses or premium contact lenses are then needed.  Thus no more sickness from 3D!

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