3-D movies no fun for people with certain vision problems

By • Published: October 1st, 2010
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Three-dimensional movies are the latest Hollywood rage, and 3-D TV is in the works. Don’t understand the appeal? Doctors from the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, Britain’s body of eye doctors, say there is a scientific reason some people aren’t wowed by three-dimensional films. It could be they aren’t having the same experience as those raving about the eye-popping technology.

About 2 to 3 percent of people have vision problems that make seeing a movie in 3-D downright disappointing. 3-D effects are produced by projecting two different images on-screen: one for your right eye and one for your left. Normally, the brain merges these two images in a way that makes them seem three-dimensional, often with the help of special glasses.

But some people’s eyes are positioned improperly… they don’t turn correctly to view close objects, for instance. Others might have more familiar conditions, such as glaucoma, or cataracts. All these things mean the brain won’t correctly process a three-dimensional film or show. Instead, viewers with these problems might see blurred images, or even suffer from a headache or dizziness.

For some people, a lackluster 3-D movie is the first clue there is something wrong with their eyes.

Doctors say it isn’t harmful for these people to watch 3-D movies, although it might not seem too pleasant. Thanks to vision therapy and special contacts, the problem can often be corrected. So if the best part of going to a 3-D movie is the popcorn and candy you buy at the concession stand, don’t worry. Several visits to an ophthalmologist might do the trick, and soon you too could be enjoying the thrill of the silver screen. Or at least deciding for yourself if it’s worth the extra money to see a movie in 3-D.