Why 3D may not work for some

September 23, 2010 8:52:12 PM PDT
Ever since Thomas Edison made the first moving pictures, movie-makers have yearned to give them the 3-dimensions of real life.

Now that Hollywood has invested heavily in the necessary technology, they are able to do so on a wide scale. But as it turns out, 3-D movies may not work for everyone.

First let's take a closer look at 3-D vision also called stereoscopic vision. In everyday life, each eye, your right and your left, see images from different angles. Your bvrain then fuse those images giving us 3-D vision.

In the movies, you wear 3-D glasses and on the screen there are two images, again each eye sees them separately.

As you fuse the images, it tricks your brain to create the 3-dimensional sensation. But as we said, it doesn't work for everyone.

Using the stereo fly test, Dr. Jonathan Myers of Wills Eye can test for depth perception and the ability to see things in 3-D. It's technology first used in movies 50 years ago to ramp up the horror of science fiction films.

And it's becoming even more popular thanks to movies like last year's 'Avatar.' But a surprising number of people, about 15-percent, literally can't see what all the fuss is about.

"If you have a lazy eye or a tendency for crossed or wandering eyes that wasn't corrected ideally before the age of 1, you may not have developed fine stereoscopic or 3-dimensional vision," Dr. Myers said.

He says, in that case, the eyes have trouble fusing the two images.

Beyond childhood, other problems can also affect your ability to see 3-D. It can be taken away by cataracts or vision loss in one eye such as from diabetes or glaucoma.

For other people, they may be able to see 3-D, but they may not like it.

"In the view, it seems like you're hurtling through the air at 60 miles an hour, but your body and you balance system know you are standing still. That disconnect between what you see and what you feel, for some people, will either give them headaches, nausea or other symptoms," Myers said.

Dr. Myers says in most cases if you can't see 3-D or it makes you sick, it's no cause for alarm but he does recommend having your eyes checked to make sure they're healthy. That goes especially for young children when problems can still be corrected.

But as we said this only affects a small number of people. Most people enjoy 3-D and it looks like it's here to stay.

"Legends of the Guardians" is another 3-D movie getting a lot of buzz. It opens Friday and will be followed by many more 3-D movies.

There are also TVs, computer games, even job-training tools going 3-D.


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