Friday, January 15, 2010

Ever had a 3D headache?

Watching 3D movies is an expanding market. Movies like Avatar are designed to take full advantage of our stereopsis (our ability to sense depth by the difference in image angle between the two eyes). There have, however, been some reports of side effects. Enter the 3D headache.

Slight muscle imbalances such as phorias can cause eye strain when watching a 3D movie. These muscle imbalances make it harder for the brain to process the stereo images. The images are calibrated differently in the real world and in 3D movies making it harder for people who's eyes are balanced differently.

People with amblyopia (an eye that cannot see 20/20) or strabismus (eye turn). May not be able to see 3D at all. Fortunately, in the real world there are many cues to depth that goes beyond stereopsis. These clues include overlap like one arm crossed over the other, atmospheric clues, our familiarity with the normal size of objects and others. These people may not be able to experience fish jumping out of the screen but they can still drive safely because of the many other cues to depth that exist.

Now, if you do get a headache watching 3D movies what can you do? Vision therapy is an option. Eye exercises designed to help your eyes work better together. Check out our website to learn more about vision therapy and happy movie watching.

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