How Dangerous Is 3D, Really?

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3D may be the new thing for movies, television and gaming, but just how safe is it…? As we reported yesterday, Nintendo recently posted a warning on its Japanese website that suggested that players take a break from 3D every thirty minutes, adding “For children under the age of 6, looking at 3D images for a long time could possibly have a negative impact on the growth of their eyes.”

(Somewhat surprisingly, Nintendo president Reggie Fils-Aime told an audience at E3 last year that “[t]his is the same messaging that the industry is putting out with 3D movies.” Obviously, I missed that in the trailers for Tangled, Yogi Bear and all the other 3D movies aimed at young children recently.)

But it’s not only the young who’re at danger from 3D. Samsung last year issued a warning that those at risk from 3D viewing included “pregnant women, the elderly, the sleep-deprived, those suffering from serious medical conditions and anyone under the influence of alcohol,” as well as those with family history of epilepsy or strokes. And it’s not just the visuals themselves that can cause problems, according to Florida-based Dr. Nathan Bonilla-Warford:

Unfortunately, widespread extended 3D viewing is so new, that there is very little scientific data to guide us in the difference between stereo and autostereo. One obvious difference is that with autostereo there is no chance that the glasses themselves will irritate the nose or the ears. However, some autostereoscopic techniques usually require a person to keep their head at a very specific location, which can be fatiguing. We do not know if one method or the other is safer for long-term use.

So, now we now that large parts of humanity may not react well to 3D visually – This in addition to those for whom 3D doesn’t actually work at all – but also physically. We’ll just have to hope that science comes up with some cure for everyone who’s suffered just so they can watch Sam Worthington get blue and heroic.

More On Techland:

Warning: Nintendo 3DS Not Recommended For 6 and Under

Does Disney Need To Turn Their 2D Classics Into 3D?

Is Apple Planning A Holographic 3D TV?