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3D Hurts Your Eyes 244

Posted by timothy
from the eat-your-vegetables dept.
sajjadG writes "After experimenting on 24 adults, a research team at the University of California, Berkeley has determined that viewing content on a stereo 3D display hurts your eyes and your brain. This can supposedly cause visual discomfort, fatigue, and headaches According to the article, 3D content viewed over a short distance (like with desktops and smartphones) is more visually uncomfortable when the stereo content is placed in front of the screen. In a movie theater, it's the opposite: Stereo content that is placed behind the screen causes more discomfort than scenes that jump out at you. With the explosion of 3D-capable gadgetry such as televisions and mobile phones, understanding just what this kind of technology is doing to our bodies may help us better use it in the future. The only problem is that technology tends to far outpace research, and until we get a better handle on its effects, we're more or less walking blindly into a 3D world."
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3D Hurts Your Eyes

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  • Get 2D Glasses (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 23, 2011 @10:27AM (#36856438)

    http://www.thinkgeek.com/tshirts-apparel/miscellaneous/e9b4/

    • by CheeseburgerBrown (553703) on Saturday July 23, 2011 @10:37AM (#36856512) Homepage Journal

      First of all, there's no way to know if two things are separated by a volume of space unless you have a headache. That's how evolution works: the cerebral nerves were caused to evolve specifically by Darwin in order to function as a kind of animal cruelty version of Pavlov's dog in which mapping three-dimensional space actuates the occipital squinting reflex, causing us to narrow our eyes meaningfully at expansive vistas while also wishing for acetylsalicylic acid and a glass of water.

      Scientists consider this sort of thing basically self-evident, like the existence of atoms or Jenny McCarthy.

      Furthermore, the so-called Disney Cortex is capable of parsing dimensionality exclusively through parallax; in effect, the neck pain caused by this subtle lateral shifting of the head is conveyed via the uvula directly into the cranial brain-case, tapping into the same area of sensitivity exploited by the spatial depth pain discussed above.

      Elementary biochemisphology tells us that the only way stereoscopy can function effectively in the real world of fake entertainment is by pulling out all the stop and going holographic, so that the images can be processed and hurt us in as natural a way as possible. This is God's way of telling us that the Holodeck was cool.

      Fad researchers have understood this for centuries, since the time the Illuminati first started actively repressing news of the stereoscopic newspaper in 1743.

      Your friend in science,
      Cheeseburger Brown

      • The Disney Cortex? Is that made by evolution specifically to watch Disney movies in 3D?

      • by Dunbal (464142) *
        Brodmann would gouge out his own eyes upon reading that...
      • by genner (694963)

        First of all, there's no way to know if two things are separated by a volume of space unless you have a headache. That's how evolution works: the cerebral nerves were caused to evolve specifically by Darwin in order to function as a kind of animal cruelty version of Pavlov's dog in which mapping three-dimensional space actuates the occipital squinting reflex, causing us to narrow our eyes meaningfully at expansive vistas while also wishing for acetylsalicylic acid and a glass of water.

        Scientists consider this sort of thing basically self-evident, like the existence of atoms or Jenny McCarthy.

        Furthermore, the so-called Disney Cortex is capable of parsing dimensionality exclusively through parallax; in effect, the neck pain caused by this subtle lateral shifting of the head is conveyed via the uvula directly into the cranial brain-case, tapping into the same area of sensitivity exploited by the spatial depth pain discussed above.

        Elementary biochemisphology tells us that the only way stereoscopy can function effectively in the real world of fake entertainment is by pulling out all the stop and going holographic, so that the images can be processed and hurt us in as natural a way as possible. This is God's way of telling us that the Holodeck was cool.

        Fad researchers have understood this for centuries, since the time the Illuminati first started actively repressing news of the stereoscopic newspaper in 1743.

        Your friend in science, Cheeseburger Brown

        You still believe in Jenny McCarthy?
        Everyone knows that's a just a story someone made up to scare children.

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        From TFS: "After experimenting on 24 adults, a research team at the University of California, Berkeley has determined that viewing content on a stereo 3D display hurts your eyes and your brain.

        I immediately thought of Monty Python. "Shut off that TV, it's bad for your eyes!"

        and

        "My Brain hurts!"
        "Well it will have to come out then."

        • by hairyfeet (841228)

          But here is what I don't get. Just in the last year I've probably had over 3 dozen folks get new sets, from the 32 inchers all the way to the big monsters and not a single one chose 3D either because in use on half of the couple would get a MASSIVE headache watching 3D like I do, or they would get sick to their stomach or have some other bad reaction.

          Now I know this is a small sample of a small area but I bet plenty of guys here at /. can claim similar results, both on the headache/sickness scale and on the

          • by mcgrew (92797) *

            It's hard telling what dark hairy orifice they pulled those numbers out of. Buying one makes no sense for the same reason that quadraphonics made no sense in the '70s. With quadraphonics you had to have twice as many amps and speakers (and the speakers are the most expensive part of a good system) and more expensive turntables for a marginal improvement in sound quality. Surround Sound only made it because now they use a "subwoofer" and four cheap speakers, and the price of amplifiers has come down.

            With st

      • That's how evolution works: the cerebral nerves were caused to evolve specifically by Darwin in order to function

        So Darwin not only explained evolution, he also caused it? Wow!

    • I prefer to just wear this. [amazon.com] Plus it makes the theater manager uncomfortable!

      • by Dahamma (304068)

        Except you'd still see double images. If you want to fix that, you need 2 of those.

        • Not if you wear the 3D glasses on top of it, which is obviously what he meant.

          • by Dahamma (304068)

            There is no way he meant that - it would be completely ridiculous with only one eye. That's why Toshiba invented this [toshiba.com].

    • YES!! I knew 3d was bad, the minute I laid eyes upon it
  • Hurts the brain? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ceiynt (993620) on Saturday July 23, 2011 @10:30AM (#36856474)
    How does this hurt the brain? Isn't it just the eyestrain that gives the headache? I thought the brain itself had no pain receptors.
    • by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Saturday July 23, 2011 @10:35AM (#36856498)

      It's the emotional hurt that kicks in when you realize that odds are high that the movie you're seeing in 3D wasn't actually filmed in 3D and instead was faked so they can rip you off for an extra 5 bucks on your movie ticket.

      I think.

    • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Saturday July 23, 2011 @10:52AM (#36856626) Homepage

      How does this hurt the brain? Isn't it just the eyestrain that gives the headache? I thought the brain itself had no pain receptors.

      Mostly it hurts your eye, neck and facial muscles ( a 'tension' headache). Besides, at least for males, the brain clearly has pain receptors. Go kick some guy in the nuts and see what happens.

    • by Dunbal (464142) *
      You're correct, and the summary is wrong. Meninges and blood vessels have pain fibers but brain tissue does not.
    • by Rob the Bold (788862) on Saturday July 23, 2011 @11:30AM (#36856916)

      How does this hurt the brain? Isn't it just the eyestrain that gives the headache? I thought the brain itself had no pain receptors.

      Your overly literal reading of the summary hurts my wiener.

    • It's not a matter of pain receptors, it's a matter of causing harm. Your brain is accustomed to interpreting two images from your eyes, which are an established distance apart. Movies in 3D do not precisely replicate those parameters, and thus your brain has to compensate, and teach it to handle 3D data under different parameters. Basically, it makes your brain think your eyes aren't in the expected place, and forces it to learn to handle that accordingly. If you watch too much 3D, then I suppose you could

      • It's not a matter of pain receptors, it's a matter of causing harm. Your brain is accustomed to interpreting two images from your eyes, which are an established distance apart. Movies in 3D do not precisely replicate those parameters, and thus your brain has to compensate, and teach it to handle 3D data under different parameters.

        And this is true for movies in 2D as well. In a 2D movie, perspective and motion parallax gives the impression that objects are at different distances, yet your eyes have to focus

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      It doesn't hurt the brain, nor does it harm the eyes. It's just a headache caused by eyestrain. TFS was simply being sensationalist.

    • by Smurf (7981)

      Hurt: [reference.com] 1. to cause bodily injury to; injure. 2. to cause bodily pain to or in. [...]

      You are assuming definition #2. They are using definition #1, which does not imply pain.

  • Not 3D (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shawnhcorey (1315781) on Saturday July 23, 2011 @10:40AM (#36856532) Homepage
    That's because it's not 3D; at best, it's 2½D. The back side of the objects are not projected. There are true 3D projectors that create objects that are viewable from all sides (without special glasses). I call them 3D-in-a-box. You can stand in front of it and see things in 3D while somebody else can stand on the other side of the projector and see the other side of the objects (in 3D). I wished they stop lying by calling it as 3D but that's not likely to happen. :(
    • Re:Not 3D (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jamesh (87723) on Saturday July 23, 2011 @10:57AM (#36856670)

      That's because it's not 3D; at best, it's 2½D. The back side of the objects are not projected. There are true 3D projectors that create objects that are viewable from all sides (without special glasses). I call them 3D-in-a-box. You can stand in front of it and see things in 3D while somebody else can stand on the other side of the projector and see the other side of the objects (in 3D).

      I wished they stop lying by calling it as 3D but that's not likely to happen. :(

      Worse than that, the 'movement' you see on the big screen is just an illusion achieved by displaying still pictures fast enough that the brain is fooled into thinking it is seeing real movement.

      And even worse still, I watched a '2D' movie the other day and one object actually moved behind another. That's not 2D. That's not even close.

      Sarcasm aside :) I wonder if the 2D stuff we've been watching for the last 100 years or so has any negative effect on the eyes or the brain? Rapidly showing still pictures and showing an image that the brain thinks ought to be 3D but is flat....

    • Yes it's 3D, it has 3 dimensions. It's not virtual reality, and doesn't claim to be. You can't wander around it and see it from the back. What you can do is infer the depth based on the stereoscopic effect, just like you can infer height and width based on surrounding objects.

      You can't see the back of things, you can't re-focus on something that the camera didn't focus on. Yes it's gimmicky and limited. But there are 3 dimensions, and if you want to count time (as in watching a movie) it has 4.

      I think

      • by jbengt (874751)

        Yes it's 3D, it has 3 dimensions. It's not virtual reality, and doesn't claim to be. You can't wander around it and see it from the back. What you can do is infer the depth based on the stereoscopic effect, just like you can infer height and width based on surrounding objects.

        By that argument, you can infer depth based on cues present in regular 2-D movies, so should they be called 3D?
        You don't need to be able to walk around the movie and view it from the back for it to be true 3D, but in true 3D you woul

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          By that argument, you can infer depth based on cues present in regular 2-D movies, so should they be called 3D?

          That's called "perspective", and there are various forms of perspective that painters have been using for hundreds of years.

        • by b4dc0d3r (1268512)

          You are choosing to define 3D as having the ability to change focus, which is not what 3D is trying to be, and it never will be. And yes that's why it confuses a small percentage of people's senses. It's a 3D projection onto a 2D space, but it presents a different view to each eye.

          So why do you choose a definition of "true 3D" which requires more than just having 3 dimensions? Why not define 3D as "What you would see if you focus on the same thing the director wanted the focus on"?

          Put another way, if you

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Laser holograms are true 3d. I'm holding out until that technology comes around.

    • by sjames (1099)

      Worse, and the crux of the problem, it's not even a full simulation of 3D from a single forced perspective. They simulate only parallax, but not focal depth.

  • by pedantic bore (740196) on Saturday July 23, 2011 @10:46AM (#36856576)

    Those are particularly harmful to the brain.

  • I don't go to 3D movies anymore because of the eye strain. I think it's because my eyes want to focus on things other than what the director has chosen to be the point of focus, and they can't. In Avatar, the scenes where there were bugs in 'front' of the screen caused my eyes to water.

    My brain knows it can't focus, but the instinct is to try and focus. Possible if I viewed enough 3D-like movies, I could overcome that instinctual urge.

    Avatar was visually stunning, but I've seen it again at home and
    • by jamesh (87723)

      I am yet to see a 3D movie. I tend to be a bit susceptible to motion sickness, and I can pick up on and be annoyed by a 60-70Hz refresh rate on a CRT that doesn't bother anyone else. And even if none of that is a problem, i'm just as likely to fall prey to the negative placebo effect, going into a movie just knowing it's going to make me feel sick :) I kind of suspect that this is the reason a lot of people have a problem with 3D.

  • by Freddybear (1805256) on Saturday July 23, 2011 @10:53AM (#36856636)

    $100 million for the lawyers, free movie tickets for the "class"...

  • http://www.journalofvision.org/content/11/8/11.abstract [journalofvision.org]

    Where am I seeing anything about 3D hurting eyes in here? This might just be the worst slashdot heading, summary, and linked article in a while.

    The whole study is trying to measure specific angles and distances where 3D is uncomfortable. There's nothing about 3D actually hurting eyes.
  • by Rjcc (143360) on Saturday July 23, 2011 @10:59AM (#36856678) Homepage

    TechCrunch (Along with Ars Techinca and others) got it completely wrong.

    http://www.engadget.com/2011/07/22/samsung-studies-3d-viewing-discomfort-finds-out-bloggers-dont/

    If you read the study, and not the abstract, you'd know they didn't actually watch any 3D. They tested different situations of focusing on various objects to find out WHY some 3D hurts peoples eyes. They did not "find that 3D hurts your eyes" becuase that's not what they were looknig for.

    In fact, they discovered the comfortable range for 3D viewing is wider than previously thought.

    But you have to actually read the study to know that. - link to the study: http://www.journalofvision.org/content/11/8/11.full

    If you hate 3D, hate 3D, but actually read the article before throwing your two cents in.

    --Richard Lawler, Engadget

    • by bmacs27 (1314285) on Saturday July 23, 2011 @12:27PM (#36857276)
      Yea, I'm getting annoyed at these posts. What's worse is that the summary doesn't seem to understand the concept of dioptric distances. At a movie theatre, with the distance you are sitting from the screen (assuming a few rows back) you could basically never make a stimulus with a dioptric distance different from that of the screen by simulating objects behind the screen. You are already basically focussed at infinity. I know the authors well, and have conversed with them a number of times about this study. In fact, an alumnus of that lab is currently in our lab. This was a terribly written synopsis.
  • by asylumx (881307)
    Setting aside the fact that this "experiment" had some very obvious flaws, does anyone really care if it can potentially give you a headache? We all stare at computer screens all day and that is very clearly terrible for our eyes and gives us headaches!
  • http://slashdot.org/submission/1454046/3D-Cinema-Doesnt-Work-And-Never-Will [slashdot.org]

    the source of the discomfort is that millions of years of simian and primate eye evolution has created an eye that focuses and converges in parallel

    look at a mountain, and your eyes are pointed nearly straight out, and are focused wide

    look at a book, and your eyes are slightly cross-eyed, and are focused close in

    but, for million of years, this focus and this convergence has always been in parallel. millions of years of our ancestors have never had the need for eyes that, for example, cross in, but focus wide, or point straight, but focus close in. 3D expects our eyes, to, for the first time ever, or, since tens of millions of years ago, take your pick, to work in this unnatural way, unnatural for primates

    much like blind cave fish or flightless birds: if the function is not needed, the ability atrophies. of course, BEFORE binocular vision, animals with eyes on either side of their head, for example herbivores and ungulates and certain primitive carnivores, can certainly focus, converge, and even point in independent ways. look at a chameleon: its eyes are pretty much independent entities neurologically and physiologically

    but this has not been the case, since before even our distant lemur-like ancestors really started working binocular vision, for our bloodline to have eyes that focus and converge on different tracks. we simply can't do it any more without stress and pain. so this is the source of the discomfort with 3D technology, physically and mentally

    there is also some concern that very young eyes, that are still developing, can actually be permanently harmed by 3D

    • http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2098674&cid=35917198 [slashdot.org] If it was good enough for my parents, it's good enough for my kids (until science shows it's not, which hasn't happened yet).
  • I had a Ninetendo 3DS for about two months before I realized I couldn't handle the 3D effects. I literally went from feeling buzzed to headache in about 45 minutes.

    But the real world is 3D - perhaps the difference is the implementation of trickery, which is why 3D often seems more 'fake' to me than a 2D film.

  • by hitmark (640295)

    Iirc, researchers working for Sega found something similar related to 3D games and children back in the 80s.

  • I am sure there is absolutely no correlation between 3D and visually-related discomfort or fatigue, just like there is no correlation between the constant viewing of computer monitors and TVs at close distance with myopia, or the lack of exercise and constant consumption of fast food with obesity, or the smoking of cigarettes with lung disease, or the shortage of doctors with rising medical costs, or the debt funded government with rising federal deficit, or lastly, reality with things being real.
  • I went to see HP7b. I could choose to either view 3D or not at all. So there I sat with silly glasses and seeing it as I always do. No perception of depth and no negative effects on my brain... I think... I assume... I hope, OK?

    Come to think of it, the term 3D does not take time into account. 4D would be better. And we can add a couple of Ds for the sound. I tried explaining this to my son. Don't know if he really got it. Anyway, my strabismus finaly pays off
  • Recent increased usage of stereo displays has been accompanied by public concern about potential adverse effects associated with prolonged viewing of stereo imagery. There are numerous potential sources of adverse effects, but we focused on how vergence–accommodation conflicts in stereo displays affect visual discomfort and fatigue. In one experiment, we examined the effect of viewing distance on discomfort and fatigue. We found that conflicts of a given dioptric value were slightly less comfortable a

  • This has been "discovered" every time 3D comes around, which seems to be every 20 years or so.

  • Maybe I'm just in the minority, but I have never had a problem with 3D, and I've seen all kinds of 3D - red/blue anaglyph, green/yellow anaglyph, active-shutter, polarized, lenticular. I've never had eye strain. My wife, on the other hand, gets a headache with red/blue anaglyph but not with any other form of 3D. None of my three kids have ever reported eye strain after watching a 3D movie in the theaters. My only problem with 3D right now is that my TV is only three years old and I can't justify buying a ne
  • When John Baskerville invented a process for making smoother paper, and printed books with the blackest ink and whitest smoothest paper ever seen, Benjamin Franklin said that people would go blind. Others took up this claim, although today almost all books are printed on paper every bit as white and often as smooth, and with inks every bit as black.

  • This seems to be a very nice, careful study, and the discussion of which conditions are more likely to provoke discomfort is likely to be useful to producers of 3D media. It does not, however, provide a great deal of support for the view that discomfort from this source is likely to be a major obstacle to the popularity of 3D media. For most of the conditions, even when the effect was statistically significant, on the average the subjects ranked the discomfort of the stereoscopic displays only slightly grea

  • They aggravate us with a tendency to get those, which is all i need to know to avoid them.

    And yes, i unfortunately did try it with one 3d movie. Never, ever again.

  • Perceived distance in stereoscopic imagery is determined by where your eyes cross, if they're not parallel. Infinity is when the parallax, the distance between the position on the left- and right-eye images, is 85mm apart (the distance between your eyes). On a small screen the actual number that represents infinity is going to be smaller, and thus appear at some finite distance between your eyes, and in the movie theater it could potentially be greater than 85mm, meaning... farther than infinity somehow (yo

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