Technology is changing the way we see the world—and Hollywood is changing the way we see movies. Namely with a visual piece of tech that makes us feel like we are live in the vantage point of the movie ourselves: 3D. From live action to animated films, there is an increasing trend toward movies in 3D—even classic blockbusters from past years are even being re-released in theaters in the new form. With all the cinema popping out at your eyes as you watch behind your issued glasses, you may be wondering: is 3D safe for your eyes?
I’m happy to start by telling you that 3D viewing is perfectly safe entertainment for your vision. It will not cause any harmful effects to your eyesight by simply watching it in movies, on TV, gaming devices, etc. But 3D viewing can actually detect vision problems that an individual may not have been aware of—so I would venture to say 3D is both fun and beneficial! Some issues if caught early are fully treatable, so if 3D alerts you to a vision problem that gets you to schedule a visit to your Optometrist, consider it an added bonus to the cost of admission. Diseases like amblyopia cause a loss of 3D viewing amongst its more serious prognosis of lifelong vision impairment. If you can’t see the 3D effects, be sure to go to a doctor to rule this, and other issues out.
While it’s perfectly safe, there is the possibility of discomfort when viewing 3D media, and if these common symptoms are mild, you should monitor their severity and take simple measures for relief. If they become worse or frequently occur, it’s time to see your Optometrist.
Common symptoms may include:
Headaches: some viewers may potentially experience headaches and eyestrain due to the eyes converging to focus on the screen. Sitting at a further distance can often solve the problem.
Dizziness, Nausea: visual motion hypersensitivity (VMH) can be brought on by 3D viewing causing motion sickness. The converging images can cause some viewers to feel nauseated during or following 3D viewing. If you feel mildly dizzy, look away from the 3D images and focus on the furthest possible point in the distance for a few seconds.
Abnormal symptoms include:
Blurred vision and Lack of Depth (not seeing 3D): if you can’t see 3D, this may indicate that something is wrong with your binocular vision.
If you think you might be someone with a potential issue with your vision as a result of frequent discomfort or disability to see 3D, how do you know if you should see an Optometrist? While you should have a regular annual eye exam, an additional trip prompted from your 3D viewing experience (or lack of) is a good idea if:
√ You notice you don’t seem to enjoy the same effects or vividness as others viewing the 3D content
√ You have trouble after viewing 3D media adjusting your eyes back to normal
√ You experience bad eyestrain and headaches
√ Strongly unpleasant nausea or dizziness
I condensed the things to look out for into a handy, easy to remember check list I like to call—the 3 Ds of 3D Viewing Awareness: Discomfort + Don’t See 3D + Dizziness