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: Misinformation diffusing online

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

Misinformation diffusing online

1 hour ago

The spread of misinformation through online social networks is becoming an increasingly worrying problem. Researchers in India have now modeled how such fictions and diffuse through those networks. They described details ...

Many tongues, one voice, one common ambition

2 hours ago

There is much need to develop energy efficient solutions for residential buildings in Europe. The EU-funded project, MeeFS, due to be completed by the end of 2015, is developing an innovative multifunctional and energy efficient ...

Chinese man brings gay conversion therapy lawsuit

3 hours ago

(AP)—A gay Chinese man said Thursday he was suing a psychological clinic for carrying out electric shocks intended to turn him straight, as well as the search engine giant Baidu for advertising the center.

Panasonic, Tesla to build big US battery plant

3 hours ago

(AP)—American electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc. is teaming up with Japanese electronics company Panasonic Corp. to build a battery manufacturing plant in the U.S. expected to create 6,500 jobs.

User comments : 0