Technology has transformed the world of entertainment. With just one screen, we can do so much at home! These days, three-dimensional (3D) displays have become especially popular. But are they even safe?
Unfortunately, 3D displays can lead to shocking health problems. These issues are caused by the abnormal depth of each image. Our brains just aren’t made for this kind of viewing.
If you love 3D movies and video games, you might want to reconsider. These five side effects explain why 3D is bad for the eyes and body.
1. Eye Strain
We all know that staring at a screen can cause eye strain. However, compared to normal 2D displays, 3D is even worse for the eyes.
According to a study in IEEE Transactions on Consumer Electronics, researchers found that 3D causes more eye strain than 2D. This side effect is even worse in short viewing distances.1Possible symptoms include headaches, soreness, dryness, or watering.2
2. Poor Eyesight
Poor eyesight is another obvious result of screen time. It’s a good way to get yourself some new glasses! 3D is even worse, though. When watching a 3D display, the eyes have to work extra hard to do normal activities like focusing and converging.
The perception of depth is also unnatural, making it stressful for your peepers. Bad eyesight will be just a blink away.3
3. Poor Attention
You might be surprised to know that 3D is also bad for cognitive function. This is because 3D forces the brain to unnaturally interpret information.4
For instance, a study in the International Journal of Psychophysiology had 26 participants do an attention-oriented task before and after 3D viewing. The researchers found that 3D can cause mental fatigue, which then impaired selective attention. Blocking out distractors will be more difficult than normal.5
4. Alters Heart Rhythm
3D’s harmful effect extends beyond the eyes and brain. The higher level of arousal and excitement has been shown to increase heart rate. And while it might seem fun, this can actually lead to a disordered heart rhythm pattern.6 Therefore, people with heart problems might want to avoid 3D viewing.
5. Promotes Motion Sickness
When you’re viewing a 3D display, the images are dynamic and lively. But since you’re not moving, your vestibular (balance) sensory system isn’t in line with your visual system. In turn, visually induced motion sickness can develop.
Symptoms may include nausea, sweating, hypersalivation, dizziness, disorientation, and vertigo. Your head might also feel full and heavy. Plus, it can develop on top of eye strain, so it’s important to be careful.7
If you’re prone to motion sickness and nausea, consider avoiding 3D displays.
From movies to games, 3D viewing is a big hit with kids. Yet, it’s vital to remember that their eyes are still developing. They might be more vulnerable to these side effects.
In fact, their eyes are changing so much that eye checkups are more important for kids. Vision screenings should always be a part of routine care. If visual problems are caught early, there will be time to correct it.8 This proves just how much their eyes grow during this time.
For children, healthy eyes equal a healthy future. It’ll affect everything from academic success to social development, so you shouldn’t take it lightly.9 Keep this in mind when watching any kind of screen, 3D or not.
Ask your eye doctor how often your child can watch 3D displays. The answer might vary depending on the age. For older children and young adults, it may be safe in moderation.
|↑1||Lee, Eui Chul, Hwan Heo, and Kang Ryoung Park. “The comparative measurements of eyestrain caused by 2D and 3D displays.” IEEE Transactions on Consumer Electronics 56, no. 3 (2010).|
|↑2||Eye Strain. Kellogg Eye Center, University of Michigan Health Center.|
|↑3, ↑4, ↑7||Solimini, Angelo G. “Are there side effects to watching 3D movies? A prospective crossover observational study on visually induced motion sickness.” PloS one 8, no. 2 (2013): e56160.|
|↑5||Mun, Sungchul, Eun-Soo Kim, and Min-Chul Park. “Effect of mental fatigue caused by mobile 3D viewing on selective attention: An ERP study.” International Journal of Psychophysiology 94, no. 3 (2014): 373-381.|
|↑6||Park, S., M. J. Won, S. Mun, E. C. Lee, and M. Whang. “Does visual fatigue from 3D displays affect autonomic regulation and heart rhythm?.” International Journal of Psychophysiology 92, no. 1 (2014): 42-48.|
|↑8||Broderick, Peter. “Pediatric vision screening for the family physician.” American family physician 58 (1998): 691-706.|
|↑9||National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Making eye health a population health imperative: Vision for tomorrow. National Academies Press, 2017.|