3D TV makes you sick

3D television can lead to headaches and sickness but there is currently no evidence to suggest long term damage, leading experts have said.

The Royal College of Opthalmologists, Association of Optometrists and opticians have said that there is not enough research about the subject to be sure of the long term effects, but short term signs are visible.

3D TV and films have been pioneered as the future with many films coming out in 3D format at the cinema and companies such as Samsung, Sony and Panasonic creating TV sets for the home.

The 3D “glasses” work in coordination with the television picture, switch from an image for the right eye to a slightly different image for the left eye many times a second in order to mimic the slight differences that occur naturally between the two eyes, and this is how we can visualise objects in 3D.  Although there is an image being produced for both eyes only one eye sees an image at any moment in time this means that the eyes do not have two constant images to fuse together.

Geoff Roberson, Professional Advisor at the Association of Optometrists, said although he only had a limited knowledge of these devices, by looking at how they work meant: “The risk of this dissociation of the two eyes is that some people, with an underlying weakness with the muscular system that coordinates the two eyes and ensures they work together properly, may find they experience some discomfort such as headaches and/or eyestrain, or possibly some double vision as a result.”

“These effects are likely to be only temporary however and not cause any permanent harm to the vision,” he said.

John Lee, President of The Royal College of Ophthalmologists, agreed. He told TechEye: “Approximately two to three percent of the population can’t see 3D because of early onset squint, or an eye problem that develops later in life – and you need good vision in both eyes to be able to see 3D.

“You cannot damage your eyes by watching a 3D film, but if you spend an excessive period of time doing so, you may get a slight headache because of eye strain.”

But it seems other opticians are unconvinced about long term damage. Gary Kousoulou, an optician at GoodLooking opticians, told TechEye: “Like with cancer and mobile phones there is still a lot of research that needs to be put into this to ensure we get a clearer picture of the effects of 3D,” he said.

“However, I wouldn’t recommend putting 3D glasses on any child under 8 as their muscles are still developing.”

Despite the opticians’ claims,  Samsung is issuing statements on its site in order to protect itself from any legal claims in case people fall ill. It warns that this technology could cause an increased risk of fits for epileptics and one part even reads: “Viewing in 3D may cause disorientation for some viewers. Accordingly, DO NOT place your TV television near open stairwells, cables, balconies, or other objects that can be tripped over, run into, knocked down, broken or fallen over.”

It continues: “Viewing 3D television may also cause motion sickness, perceptual after effects, disorientation, eye strain and decreased postural stability.”

Sony said it was conducting research into the effects of this technology before making any comment.