General Health

General health issues, Medical conditions, Research and studies and more

Mental Health

Natural Medicine

Nutritional supplements, Herbs, Alternative medicine and more…

Wellness & Lifestyle

Nutrition, Diets, Healthy living, Detox, Exercise and Physical Fitness, Sports Fitness and more…

Women’s Health

Relationships, Pregnancy, Birth control, Menopause and more

Home » Information

Does 3D Gaming, Movie-Going Damage Young Eyes?

Article / Review by on January 9, 2012 – 6:12 pmNo Comments

Does 3D Gaming, Movie-Going Damage Young Eyes?

Does 3D Gaming, Movie-Going Damage Young Eyes?

As 3D video games and films continue to dazzle young fans, some moms and dads worry if the technology poses risk for kids’ still-developing eyes and brains.

Fortunately, pediatric ophthalmologist Matthew Gearinger offers these parents peace of mind.

“I hardly believe that experiencing artificial 3D environments will prove problematic,” Dr. Gearinger said. “Children’s brains and eyes will have plenty of opportunity to mature normally, as they’ll be walking around in a real 3D environment for the lion’s share of their lives.”

To learn more about how our brains interpret 3D technologies – and if and how parents should limit 3D screen time – we spoke with Dr. Gearinger further.

Scripts: How do our brains interact with the 3D technology on screen to fake depth and dimension?

Dr. Gearinger
Dr. Gearinger

Gearinger: In the natural world, each of our eyes perceives a separate “picture” based on the angle between each eye and the given object (naturally, that angle is greater for nearby objects, and smaller for distant objects). This discrepancy – between the images that our left and right eyes register – is the secret behind what we commonly refer to as “depth perception.”

Typically, when traditional movies, video games and paintings inhabit a flat surface, there is no real depth to the objects – so our brain creates it, based on the relative sizes of the overlapping objects. Today’s 3-D technology, however, does one better – recreating the illusion of depth even more realistically by allowing each eye to view separate images – each taken at slightly different angles – through polarized glasses. The moment you slip off your glasses, though, the screen looks blurry – after all, you’re viewing two different pictures at the same time.

Sometimes, people will experience visual unease (fuzzy vision, headaches) because of the mismatch between perceived depth and actual depth. Let me explain. Typically, as a natural object approaches us, our eyes turn in (converge or cross). At the same time, as a reflex, we unconsciously shift our degree of “optical power” to better focus in on the object. In an artificial 3D experience, however, our eyes still turn in – but there’s no need for the real-life reflex of changing “optical power,” as the object never moves from the screen.  Decoupling this “converging” and “optical power shifting” can be exhausting; the brain has a hard time resisting its normally programmed behavior.

Scripts: How much 3D TV or gaming is too much, in general? And is it important to take breaks while playing or watching 3D programs – and if so, how often?

Gearinger:  Honestly, the real evils attributed to “too much” 3D television or gaming are probably linked more to the resulting lack of physical activity – and the lack of varied intellectual stimulation – than any problem or potential threat to the eyes.

That said, I do see some kids who qualify as heavy screen-users, and they can suffer from dry eye. They concentrate so hard on the visual task at hand that they actually forget to blink! Taking breaks can certainly help.

Scripts: So, bottom line – do you think 3D is here to stay?

Gearinger: 3D technology definitely seems to be a trendy add-on for movies, TV, and games, and it can really enhance the viewing experience (one caveat, though: It does tend to dim the brightness of the images, as each eye is only getting half of the light). Overall, though, it shouldn’t cause visual problems in the majority of consumers.


More about Dr. Gearinger

Dr. Gearinger’s passion for improving the vision of children is the driving force behind his daily research and clinical practice. In the Flaum Eye Institute’s pediatric wing, he treats patients suffering from a variety of conditions ranging from pink eye, blocked tear ducts and blurred vision, to  pediatric glaucoma and congenital cataracts. He has treated adults with misaligned eyes, and even performed surgery on one-week-old infants.

To learn more about pediatric ophthalmology care at URMC, click here


*  The above story is adapted from materials provided by University of Rochester Medical Center


University of Rochester Medical Center

Tags: ,

Leave a comment!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>