Here's What You Need To Know If You Have Trouble Watching Movies In 3-D

Posted on: 2 December 2016

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Kung Fu Panda 3, Zootopia, and The Jungle Book were just 3 of the 3-D movies released in 2016. Most people find it enjoyable to immerse themselves into 3-D movies, particularly children. But some people have trouble seeing the images that are produced in movies made using 3-D technology. Here's what you need to know if you or your child has problems watching 3-D movies.

Two independent images

First, it's important to understand how 3-D movies are made. In this technology, two cameras film the same images yet at slightly different angles, which is how the sense of depth perception in 3-D movies is achieved. Each camera polarizes light on different planes, which produces separate images. When watching a 3-D movie, the planes get filtered with 3-D eyeglasses so that each eye sees only the images of the corresponding camera. The images each eye sees independently gets sent to your brain where the two images are perceived as one. 

Potential eye problems

Even though the eyes pick up each camera's images independently, the eyes still need to work together or the brain does not perceive a full image. There are several common eye problems that can cause your eyes to not work together well enough for you to view and interpret 3-D images. 

The most obvious condition is when one eye is blurrier than the other eye. In this case, only the images picked up by the clearer eye will be sharp in the image produced by your brain. This can happen when your eyes do not have the same focal point, particularly if one eye is more near-sighted than the other eye.

This same type of problem can be found in someone who has a lazy eye, which is when one eye is weaker than the other eye. The brain would not get enough signal from the weaker eye to clearly interpret a 3-D image. Another condition that could make it difficult to watch 3-D movies is when the eyes are not aligned properly, such as in a condition known as strabismus and sometimes called squint eye or cross-eye. 

Fortunately, there are treatments available, depending on the diagnosis, which can include prescription eyeglasses and/or vision therapy. For a diagnosis, you'll need to see an optometrist, which is an eye doctor who specializes in vision problems. You'll likely get a complete examination, which will include a glaucoma test and an eye dilation.