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3D TV: Will it be a problem for your eyes?

Published: May 2010

Around 5 to 10 percent of people don't have true depth perception, and far more might have other vision problems that could prevent them from seeing 3D images in movies or the new 3D televisions, experts we consulted said.

Producing 3D images requires special cameras that capture two images, simulating the different perspectives of the left and right eyes. When looking through 3D glasses, each eye sees the proper perspective and the brain fuses them into a stereoptic image.

People whose eyes aren't perfectly aligned because of strabismus (eyes don't align when focusing) or amblyopia (one eye loses the ability to see details) or who struggle to keep their eyes lined up and moving together will probably have difficulty fusing the images into a 3D experience. Moreover, the challenge might cause eyestrain (dry, irritated, or painful eyes), which could lead to headache.

Bottom line. If you experience problems viewing 3D images, you're better off going to 2D movies and watching conventional TV sets. To find out why you're having difficulties, consult an ophthalmologist or optometrist. If needed, you might consider asking about a referral to a developmental optometrist, a practitioner specially trained to help patients improve their visual performance.

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