Another dimension to 3-D TVs: Health risks

Jun 09, 2010 By Liz Szabo

Teens have been known to play video games until they're glassy-eyed.

As 3-D television sets arrive in stores -- offering both TV shows and video games in 3-D -- some are concerned that too much eye-popping action could cause headaches, or worse.

A health warning in April from Samsung, one of the first on the market with 3-D TVs, makes watching 3-D sound like mortal combat.

The TV maker warns that 3-D could cause lightheadedness, nausea, dizziness, twitching or even convulsions, especially in epileptics. Samsung cautions parents to supervise children closely, because they could be more susceptible than adults.

Samsung further advises consumers to take frequent breaks and avoid watching 3-D movies or games when they're "in bad physical condition, need sleep or have been drinking alcohol." The company goes so far as to warn customers not to place a 3-D television near open stairwells, balconies or "other objects that may cause you to injure yourself" if you fall.

But is 3-D really bad for your health?

Because modern 3-D technology is so new, there isn't much research to show it causes health problems, says Gail Summers, a pediatric ophthalmologist at the University of Minnesota.

About 20 percent of people have mild that could predispose them to 3-D-related headaches or eye strain, says Steven Nusinowitz, an associate professor of ophthalmology at the University of California at Los Angeles. Such problems can include a lack of or vision that's significantly weaker in one eye.

3-D also can give some people . That happens when a person's eyes tell his brain that he's moving even though he's sitting still, Nusinowitz says.

Yet Los Angeles ophthalmologist James Salz says he doesn't expect most people to have any problems. Though eye strain can cause headaches, it doesn't permanently damage the eye, says Salz, a spokesman for the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Summers, who is president of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, says parents should watch for health effects in children using 3-D technology, because they may not be able to describe exactly why they feel ill.

"They won't say, 'I have eye strain because I've watched this for too long,' " Summer says. "And older kids may not want to say they have a headache because they don't want their video games restricted."

Explore further: Japan orders air bag maker to conduct probe

5 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Video games shown to improve vision

Mar 15, 2007

According to a new study from the University of Rochester, playing action video games sharpens vision. In tests of visual acuity that assess the ability to see objects accurately in a cluttered space, game players scored ...

Mid-life headaches may increase risk of vision problems

May 14, 2007

Middle-aged men and women with a history of migraine and other headaches are more likely to have retinopathy, damage to the retina of the eye which can lead to severe vision problems or blindness, than those without a history ...

Japanese group gives health tips to 3D viewers

Apr 23, 2010

A group of Japanese businesses has released a handbook advising viewers on health and safety when watching three-dimensional televisions to counter symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, and eye fatigue.

Recommended for you

Japan orders air bag maker to conduct probe

Nov 21, 2014

Japan's transport ministry said Friday it has ordered air bag maker Takata to conduct an internal investigation after cases of its air bags exploding triggered safety concerns in the United States and other countries.

Senators get no clear answers on air bag safety

Nov 20, 2014

There were apologies and long-winded explanations, but after nearly four hours of testimony about exploding air bags, senators never got a clear answer to the question most people have: whether or not their ...

Winter-like temps can reduce tire pressure

Nov 19, 2014

The polar plunge that has chilled much of the nation does more than bring out ice scrapers and antifreeze. It can trigger vehicles' tire pressure monitoring systems overnight, sending nervous drivers to dealers ...

US: Gov't aircraft regulations apply to drones (Update)

Nov 18, 2014

The U.S. government has the power to hold drone operators accountable when they operate the remote-control aircraft recklessly, a federal safety board ruled Tuesday in a setback to small drone operators chafing ...

Mapping the crisis of displaced peoples

Nov 17, 2014

Population displacement is a global problem, one that historically has been insufficiently quantified and analyzed, especially given its wide-ranging effects. Displacement can result from a number of factors, ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.