What are the dangers of 3D glasses?

Written by lavonda abney
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What are the dangers of 3D glasses?
Children watching a 3D movie. (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

The popularity of 3D is on the rise and is being integrated into movies, TV's and video games. Technology keeps moving forward, but health risks associated with this technology are not always discussed. Wearing 3D glasses manipulates the eyes in order to see the images on the screen as a three dimensional image. This type of manipulation can cause eye strain, headaches, blurred vision, disorientation and nausea especially in children, women who are pregnant, and elderly individuals. Flashing lights or rapid movement in 3D imaging can cause seizures or strokes in people with a family history of epilepsy.

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How 3D Glasses Work

The 3D glasses that have become popular as of 2011 look like a pair of sunglasses. Each lens has a different polarisation that restricts the light that reaches each eye. Two separate images are placed on the same screen. Each image has a different polarisation that coincides with the 3D glass lens. The lenses allow each eye to view each image separately and when the eyes focus the images into one it produces the effect of a 3D image.

Effects of 3D on the Eyes

As the eyes focus on an object up close they will normally move closer together and the eyes move apart as they focus on something in the distance. The use of 3D glasses manipulates the brain and eyes to improperly focus on an image enabling the 3D image to be seen. This manipulation can cause eye strain, which can lead to headaches and blurred vision.

What are the dangers of 3D glasses?
Eye strain and fatigue can cause headaches. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

3D Theaters Versus 3D TV

Viewing movies and games in 3D is not suggested for younger children. Stereopsis is the process the eyes use to enable three-dimensional image viewing and this process is not fully developed in children until the age of seven. Children and adults who have a family history of epilepsy are at risk of a seizure or stroke due to the way bright, flashing light is portrayed in the 3D viewing environment.

Effects of 3D Glasses on Children

With the release of Nintendo's 3DS gaming system came a warning that viewing games in 3D is not suggested for children under age 7 because it can cause vision damage (See Resources). Stereopsis is the process the eyes use to enable three-dimensional image viewing and this process is not fully developed in children until the age of seven. Children and adults who have a family history of epilepsy are at risk of a seizure or stroke due to the way bright, flashing light is portrayed in the 3D viewing environment.

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