Monday, April 23, 2012

Don't like 3D movies? You may have 3D Vision Syndrome.

Some people are watching Titanic 3D without 3D glasses.  Why would they do that?  They may have an emerging vision disorder.  To go with it, a new medical term is emerging: "3D vision syndrome".

3D vision syndrome applies to a collection of symptoms that some people (some estimates peg the number at millions of people) suffer when exposed to 3D media content.  3D vision syndrome is coming to attention now because 3D movies, television, and video-games and other 3D media devices and applications have recently proliferated and many people are discovering that they cannot comfortably experience 3D.

3D media has significantly affected how we interact with our world. New mechanisms for delivering 3D content appear frequently from movies to television to video games.  Can the 3D internet be far behind? 3D has come into our theaters, hour homes and now even our schools.  Many schools are now using 3D content to improve their ability to teach a subject and studies show that 3D is very effective in the classroom.  One study found that the use of 3D in school increased test results by 17%.

Unfortunately, many people have a hard time seeing simulated 3D.  Chances are you know someone like this.  When viewing 3D content many people suffer from a number of symptoms during viewing such as blurred vision, headache, double vision, dizziness and vision induced motion sickness.

Binocular vision dysfunctions are the usual culprit when someone has problems with 3D.  And the impact of binocular vision dysfunction is not just restricted to 3D.  Studies have show that people with binocular vision dysfunctions have lower academic performance. Fortunately, binocular vision problems are effectively treated with vision therapy.

A famous case of vision therapy treatment for inability to see in 3D is the that of "Stereo Sue", or Dr. Susan Barry, a neuroscientist who wrote the book Fixing my Gaze about how vision therapy cured her stereoblindness and enable to see in 3D for the first time in her life at the age of 48.  Her story was also the subject of an article in the New Yorker written by Oliver Sacks.  She also gave a TED talk on vision therapy:

Vision Source Vancouver optometrists have successfully treated a number of patients who have had little or no depth perception. For some of these patients, their stereoblindness was caused by strabismus (eye turn) and persisted despite 2-3 surgeries that attempted to fix the problem. First vision therapy was used to straighten the eyes (vision therapy has a 87% success rate in treating strabismus) and then a completely different course of therapy is prescribed to establish 3D vision and depth perception.

For more information on 3D vision, click here.

The best online resource for 3D vision and health is the American Optometric Association's 3D vision website at .