3-D Dangers

Thursday, May 19, 2011 - 10:33am

Samsung warns home 3D television systems could harm younger eyes.

3D television is the hot new thing in home entertainment, but it's becoming more widely known that extended viewing may cause temporary vision problems for young children, and even trigger epileptic episodes.

Television manufacturers are offering warnings.

Samsung's warning states that children and teenagers may be more at risk to health issues related to 3D viewing.

Ophthalmologist Dr. Gregory Haffner says kids' eyes are in the developmental stages until age 10 and watching 3D may alter the way their eyes are learning to fuse.

"Theoretically, if they're watching 3D television for six or seven hours a day, that is the kind of processing you might get an issue with," he says.

Dr. Jennifer Madan Cohen is a pediatric neurologist who says the 3D glasses that are used for home use function differently than those used in theaters.

"In particular, the 3D technology that is coming out for home use is a little more worrisome for people because it uses this active system which turns on and off, sort-of flashes in front of a person's eyes and that can be what's often provoking for seizures," she explains.

This type of technology can be very dangerous for people like Aprile Johnson, who developed photosensitive epilepsy after surgery to remove a brain tumor 17 year ago.

"At 3D movies with the glasses on affects me. I either blink tremendously and I miss the movie," she says. "I can almost feel that I'm going to have an epileptic episode, my head starts to hurt; I'll get like foggy vision. I'll take the glasses off."

Dr. Cohen said following the simple rule to not sit too close to the TV or screen is a good way to minimize any side effects.

She also says keeping the lights on while watching is a must.

"They should have lights on in the room because it's the contrast of the flashing light that can be a problem. So if they're really in a dim room and it's a bright flash, that would be the kind of stimulus that could provoke a seizure," she explains.

Both doctors agree that it is too soon to fully understand how too much 3d can affect people and that watching in moderation is key.

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