A Moment of Science

3D: Harmful To The Eyes?

3D TV and movies seem to be all the rage but are they harmful to eyes?

man in 3d glasses

Photo: Rodrigo Denúbila (flickr)

Many people like to watch in 3D.

Is all this three dimensional viewing harming our eyes in any way?

Viewing In 3D

And the simple answer is “no”: there’s no evidence that 3D does any permanent damage to the eyes.

But watching things in 3D does make extra demands on the eyes. When you’re wearing those multicolored 3D glasses and watching a movie or playing a video game, the eyes need to maintain steady focus and aim in a certain direction for the 3D effect to work.

Normally it’s not a problem; our eyes adapt pretty easily to the demands.

Some Problems Do Exist With 3D

But the 3D viewing experience can cause visual distress and such things as headaches and nausea. Again, none of these symptoms has been found to be permanent.

Typically, if you’re watching something in 3D and feel sick, taking off the glasses and resting your eyes for a few minutes solves the problem.

Some people do experience more severe problems when watching 3D, which could be a sign of underlying eye problems. For example, if 3D consistently gives you a bad headache or causes other problems, it could be a symptom of lazy eye or indicate that your eyes aren’t properly aligned.

So 3D isn’t just a cool new way to experience media, it also has some clinical benefits.

Read More:

  • Are 3D movies, TV bad for your eyes? (ABC)
  • Moises Castillo

    Interesting, but seems focused on multicolored 3D glasses. I’m guessing same is true from shutter and polarized glasses (i.e. 3D fatigue), though I think the strain on the eyes/mind is a little different.

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