Can 3D Smartphones Damage Eyesight?

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Can 3D smartphones damage eyesight?

While 3D is undoubtedly a very cool technology that has come on leaps and bounds in the last few years with the arrival of glasses free 3D.

Worries that the method adopted to trick the eyes into believing they are seeing 3D could actually damage your eyesight seems to have some grounds as recent research suggests the use of 3D gadgets like the popular hand held 3D device the Nintendo 3DS and now smartphones such as the Evo 3D and Optimus 3D could induce a condition termed “vergence accommodation

Optometrist, Professor Martin Banks conducted the research published in the Journal of Vision this month, however the trial was relatively small with only 24 adult participants with a lack of children involved to asses the potential damage on younger eyes.

It would be nice to see more results to find out what effects 3D actually has on the eyes of young children, and if long term effects are caused by the tricking of the mind and retina.

Key issue is the closeness of the screen

Prof Banks, of the University of California, said:

“When watching stereo 3D displays, the eyes must focus – that is, accommodate – to the distance of the screen because that’s where the light comes from. At the same time, the eyes must converge to the distance of the stereo content, which may be in front of or behind the screen.”

The results showed that gadgets like smartphones viewed at close quarters the material appearing nearer the viewer was less comfortable than that placed behind the screen….i.e the 3D effect of close depth of field was more uncomfortable that image supposed to be set back in the screen.

Whereas in a setting such as a cinema, the 3D stereo content which was aimed at showing depth of field i.e set back in the screen also caused similar uncomfortable eye strain.

Is eye strain the only problem with 3D

3D Eye Problems Caused By Gadgets
3D Eye Problems Caused By Gadgets

There are claims that the Nintendo 3DS can cause gamers to feel physically sick and research is under way to learn more about this phenomenon.

The 3DS does allow you to control the amount of depth in the 3D visual generated, and this will perhaps mitigate some of the issues if users are aware that it is an option and actually test settings out.

What are your experiences of using 3D on gadgets are you seeing the same issues?

Anthony Munns