3D: Great on paper, but could it be hurting your eyes?

3D: Great on paper, but could it be hurting your eyes?

3D may be the future - but it could also be damaging your eyesight.

That's the view of a number of scientists in the US who've been monitoring just how much effect the mobile industry's latest cash cow can have on your health.

The University of California team took 24 people and observed them looking at 2D content vs 3D. The result, perhaps unsurprisingly, was that 3D was "less comfortable".

The technology has been around for decades. But with Hollywood, TV makers, Nintendo and now mobile manufacturers pushing it hard, there have been complaints from some of headaches and migraines - particularly with the newer iterations which don't require the geeky specs we grew up getting in cereal boxes.

Experts say the problem is caused by the fact that our eyes are having to work twice as hard - looking at the screen and also gauging the distance between the face and what we're seeing.

Professor Martin Banks, an optometrist from the University of California, is warning that it could damage the technology's prospects: "Discomfort associated with viewing 3D stereo is a major problem that may limit the use of technology," he says. "We hope that our findings will inspire more research in this area."

Crucially, those findings don't claim that 3D will permanently cause damage - only that you may suffer a headache as a result.

Not massively surprising when you look at the response to Nintendo's 3DS that launched at the start of the year, and reports that users were starting to get visual discomfort after a while.

Then again, we did grow up with warnings that we shouldn't spend too long in front of the TV. Maybe it's just the latest sign that we should get out more instead!

<a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1371435/Nintendo-3DS-makes-gamers-sick-gives-headaches.html">
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2 comments

JanSt / MOD  Jul. 25, 2011 at 20:14

Actually, researchers in Berlin and elsewhere predicted in the 80s that we wouldn't be able to cope with 3D all that well. At that times first 'holodeck' type holograms were trialled. Crude as those early templates were, our bodies and brains seem to detest artificial 3D. Observe yourself looking at the world. For the most part we focus on a 2D thing. Our minds fill in the blanks because we 'know' it's 3D.
Arificial 3D on a smallish screen, forces us to 'deal' with it... well, that is one problem, I reckon.
Other issues revolve around the very foundations of physics - contrary to school wisdom, the whole photon thing is not undisputed... but that is for another forum, I suppose :p

Guan  Jul. 26, 2011 at 02:52

Had my Optimus 3D for almost 2 weeks now. Still loving the 3D, good quality content helps. Gets easier the more you learn to use it properly. The key is to get the angle and distance correct and relax your eyes. The headaches come from trying to focus on different elements around the scene rather than just sticking with middle of the screen.

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