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3-D Movies May Give Some Kids (and Adults) a Headache
Watching a 3-D movie can be a fun, exciting experience. But it can also result in
headaches, dizziness, or nausea for some viewers.
It's estimated as many as 10% of kids and adults may experience some
discomfort from watching a 3-D movie. And 5% may be unable to see 3-D at all.
That's because 3-D technology can't completely simulate how our visual system
works to allow us to see objects in depth.
Although today's 3-D technology is better than in the past, it still can't do what
our eyes and brain do to create depth perception. In real life, our eyes must
work together precisely to provide our brain with two clear images that are
combined into one picture. Differences in how clearly one eye sees or how
accurately either one is pointed at an object can affect the brain's ability to fuse
the images together to see in three dimension.
Normally, when we look at a near object, the eyes turn inward or converge to
keep it in the line of focus. When we look at something farther away, our eyes
refocus and turn outward or diverge. This doesn't happen when watching a
movie screen at a fixed distance. Instead 3-D movies require each eye to see a
different image at the same time.
When kids or adults have problems seeing 3-D or experience discomfort
watching, it could be a sign of an untreated vision problem. Minor eye focusing or
eye coordination problems may make watching a 3-D movie uncomfortable for
them. Their eyes and brain have to work harder to try to make sense of the
images produced on the movie screen. This extra effort may leave them feeling
tired, with eyestrain or headaches when leaving the theatre. And for some with
more significant vision problems, they may leave having not experienced the
thrill of the 3-D effects.
If your child complains of discomfort after viewing a 3-D movie, it may be time
for a visit to the eye doctor. Problems with eye focusing or eye coordination can
usually be corrected with eyeglasses or, in some cases, a program of vision
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