2016 is set to be a great year for 3D movies, and already it is becoming the norm for 3D glasses to be offered with some cinema tickets. For some people however, Hollywood’s 3D movies may induce more dizziness and nausea than thrills. That’s because for both adults and especially children watching 3D movies with a lazy eye, or amblyopia, (a term used when the vision in one of the eyes is reduced because the eye and the brain are not working together) it is nearly impossible to enjoy the effects like their friends.
To understand why, let’s break down how a functional vision problem like amblyopia can impair your ability to view 3D effects.
The Importance of Binocular Vision for Seeing in 3D
Each of our eyes sees the world from a slightly different perspective. The brain combines these two images in order to see a single 3-D image.
If, however, the brain does not combine these images normally, as is the case with amblyopia, your ability to accurately judge distance and see the world in perfect 3D would diminish.
This is the case for children with amblyopia, who have one or both eyes that don’t see clearly even if they have prescription glasses.
The condition can develop for a number of reasons, the most common causes are eye turn (strabismic amblyopia) and either a large prescription in both eyes or a large difference in prescription between the two eyes (refractive amblyopia). In both cases, the brain doesn’t develop sharp central vision in the eye(s) because it ignores that information through an adaptation called suppression.
One of the most frustrating aspects of a lazy eye is that it can be tough to spot. Children with amblyopia don’t know what normal vision should look like, so they don’t realize there is an issue. Parents may also be oblivious to their child’s lazy eye, as there are rarely any visible accompanying symptoms.
Even so, amblyopia affects the way a person registers depth and dimensionality, including 3D movies.
How 3D Movies Depend on Binocular Vision
Three-dimensional movies depend entirely on the brain using both eyes together to create their incredible effects.
In a 3D movie, two identical movies are projected on one screen, with a slight disparity between the images. The identical images have different colours or polarization, and your 3D glasses will only allow you to see the colour or polarization that corresponds to the proper lens.
However, the glasses may have an adverse effect on a child with lazy eye. When they put on 3D glasses, the lenses may create a viewing condition in which the brain gives attention to the suppressed, amblyopic eye. Unfortunately, this often leads the eye to strain, resulting in dizziness, headaches and nausea.
If the brain continues to suppress the eye, the viewer may not experience these symptoms but will fail to see the movie in 3D at all.
Either way, it’s a less-than-blockbuster experience.
3D Movies Set to Hit Theatres in 2016
The following is just a short list of 3D films scheduled to enter theatres this year. Note that many of these films are targeted at children. If you or your child experience any of the symptoms we discussed while watching any of these movies, book in for an eye examination to determine if it’s a vision problem.
· Kung Fu Panda 3
· Batman v Superman
· The Jungle Book
· Captain America: Civil War
· The Angry Birds Movie
· Alice through the looking glass
· X-men: Apocalypse
· Star Trek Beyond
· Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the shadows
· Finding Dory
· Ice Age: Collision Course