3D hard on the eyes: Journal of Vision

Do 3D movies hurt your eyes? How about your 3DS’ or 3D smartphone’s screen? If so, you may not be alone. According to a new study in the Journal of Vision, the small screens on mobile devices, as well as stereo-3D, can be very hard on the eyes, causing discomfort, fatigue and headaches.

The reason, they say, is that these screens force the eye to simultaneously focus on the screen while adjusting to the distance of the content.  “The results demonstrated that with devices like mobile phones and desktop displays that are viewed at a short distance, stereo content placed in front of the screen — appearing closer to the viewer and into the space of viewer’s room — was less comfortable than content placed behind the screen,” reads the report. “Conversely, when viewing at a longer distance such as a movie theater screen, stereo content placed behind the screen —appearing as though the viewer is looking through a window scene behind the screen — was less comfortable.”

So what does this mean for all those out there watching Netflix on your Nintento DSs? Not too much as of yet. But more research on the subject may lead to a variety of outcomes – one of which being gadget makers abandoning 3D before it ever reaches the mainstream. But that’s not very likely.

“Discomfort associated with viewing Stereo 3D is a major problem that may limit the use of technology,” says Martin S. Banks, author and professor of optometry and vision science at the University of California. “We hope that our findings will inspire more research in this area.”


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