" It's a neat technology, a lot of people are going to be able to enjoy it, but it's not a perfect technology for everyone" stated Dr. Pablo Arregui from the Chico Eye Center. 3-D movies are all the rage on the big screen, and now viewers can enjoy them from their own home. 3-D tv's hit the market in February and in the first three months consumers nationwide spent about 55-million dollars on them. But research shows more than 50% of people will have difficulty viewing 3-D movies.
" With the tv's, because we watch those so much more, I think we're probably going to start seeing a lot more eye problems" Dr. Arregui said. Before switching into "3-D mode", most sets warn of potential motion sickness, dizziness or nausea. They even go as far as saying that some viewers may experience epileptic seizures or stroke.
" In some people a 3-D movie could be a potential trigger for that particular problem" Arregui says. With all the risks involved, many may wonder if the price is worth it. 3-D tv's don't come cheap, the average price for a big screen 3-D tv ranges between three and six thousand dollars.
Dr. Arregui says that combining two images to create the 3-D effect is what triggers most problems, causing eyes to become fatigued and strained. " That mechanism, that convergence and the accommodation that usually run together, that creates some ocular symptoms in many people" Dr. Arregui stated.
Diagnosing symptoms is easy with a visit to an optometrist, something that is recommended regularly so problems are detected before they become serious.
Program managers at USC's Entertainment Technology Center say there are no large scale studies to determine the health effect of long term 3-D viewing.