Does 3D TV harm your eyes?

[19/01/2012]

Does 3D TV harm your eyes?



There has been a lot of hype about 3D movies and 3D TV recently and even though this technology has been available for a while (I still remember watching Jaws 3D when I was a kid), there is now a resurgence and it is taking off in a big way. There have been many recent Hollywood Blockbusters which have come out in 3D and Avatar is the prime example. I recently went into a electronic store and they tried to sell me a 3D TV giving me a demo of how "amazing" it is , etc.... I must admit that it is pretty cool watching a 3D movie where everything looks like it is "coming out of the screen" and we can almost "touch" them. Believe it or not, I have also been involved in the demonstration of 3D live eye surgery and that is definitely cool!!

There have been some concerns raised by people about whether there are any harmful effects of this form of 3D viewing. Some have complained about feeling dizzy, disorientated or nauseous after viewing a 3D movie; others have mentioned eyestrain or headache during or after viewing. In fact, there are health warnings which the TV manufacturers display which acts like a disclaimer as well I suppose.

So is there really any danger to our eyes with this technology?

There has to be an inherent ability for the eyes to function in a coordinated manner in order for 3D vision to be possible. Our eyes move together (e.g. when we want to look to the left, there will be signals sent from our brain to the the muscles in our eyes to contract or relax appropriately in order that both eyes move in synchrony to the left). If there is a "glitch in the system" symptoms as mentioned above will become apparent. In the worse case scenario, you can actually see double if both eyes are not coordinated.

The ability to see in 3D (i.e. binocular vision) is called stereopsis and this relies upon the eyes being able to align and focus accurately on an object and then combine these images into a three dimensional perception.



So people with such binocular vision problems will not be able to view 3D movies/TV comfortably and will develop the 3 'D's of 3D viewing :

1) Discomfort - eye strain and headache

2) Dizziness - 3D viewing can make motion sickness worse and people who are prone will feel dizzy or nauseous

3) NoDepth - people who have binocular vision problems simply won't see 3D

So 3D viewing may not be for everyone - however, it is not likely to be detrimental to your eye health. It can even serve as a "screening" method for binocular vision problems so if you should experience any of the symptoms as described above, you should visit your eye doctor to get a thorough eye check!

Below is a nice video clip which I found about 3D viewing and eye health. Enjoy.....