Seeing 3D: What effects do 3D movies have on your vision? - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Seeing 3D: What effects do 3D movies have on your vision?

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By Dawndy Mercer Plank - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - It was a big fad in the 50's. It was an even bigger fad in the 80's. Now, 3D movies are making a big comeback in the 2000's, but this time the technology is better and more realistic.

Plenty has changed in the technology that delivers 3D capabilities to movies. Even the glasses have gotten better. But new questions have popped up about what the movies might do to your vision.

We wanted to know what kind of effects, if any, the average moviegoer might get after watching the latest blockbuster, "Avatar."

"I can't, I can't even speak," said Justin Hall, who just recently saw the James Cameron film. "It was unbelievable."

Workers at Columbiana Grande Cinemas say despite the increased ticket price, patrons pick 3D over normal 2d by a 2-to-1 ratio.

"That's the really cool thing about it," said Hall. "The 3D glasses actually make you have a better experience with the movie."

Exciting, eye-catching, but sometimes plaguing the viewer with side effects.

"Normally, it kind of gives me a headache and things, but I think it was the cheaper glasses," said Gene Vindeola.

"It's just my ears started hurting a little bit from where the glasses were, that's all," said Carter Tetanich.

"I do get the pressure feeling in my head from the arms of the glasses," said Luann Tetanich.

Most of the other people we interviewed came away with headaches or dry eyes, so could the 3D effects and glasses be harmful? Not so, according to Columbia ophthalmologist Dr. Brian Huff.

Dr. Huff says the 3D images are so captivating that people blink less.

"So, if you're only blinking half as much, your eyes are going to get dryer, quicker," said Dr. Huff.

Dr. Huff also has an explanation for the headaches.

"When you're watching a 2D image, it's just staying put," said Dr. Huff. "3D you're focusing in and out, in and out.  Try instead of sitting in your chair, raising up and down, up and down.  It's just a good workout."

So just like working out the body by running or lifting weights, watching 3D actually works out your eye muscles.

"I wouldn't want to call it eye aerobics yet, but there's no negative," said Dr. Huff.

So prepare for a lot of eye workouts. ESPN and Discovery Networks are preparing to roll out 3D entertainment in people's homes. Shopping for televisions will take on a whole new dimension. But buyer beware: to appreciate 3D, both eyes have to be in good shape.

"What gives you that three dimensional view is each eye is looking at things from a slightly different angle," said Dr. Huff. "If you only have one good eye, you'll be able to see the image but you're not going to be able to appreciate the depth."

So bottom line: 3D movies or glasses will not harm you. Not your eyes anyway.

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