Why is there such an incredible interest in 3-D movies, television, video games and the use of 3-D technology in the classroom? Every time you pick up a newspaper, read amagazine or a blog, surf the Internet or listen to the news, you see stories about simulated 3-D. What's all the hype about? Is it really hype or something more important to your patients and your practice?
Can we improve the entertainment value of 3-D movies for the movie-going audience? Can we make the extra cost of buying 3-D televisions worthwhile, even for those who now have headaches when they watch 3-D programming? And, what can we do for those children who cannot appreciate the seme of depth in 3-D video games or benefit from the 3-D classroom educational experience? Can we ensure that they do not miss out on the fun and improved academic learning environment?
When it comes to 3-D viewing and the patients we serve, one of the most important questions for the optometrist is: Can we improve the actual user of 3-D content so that the experience can be better appreciated, no matter their age or the type of simulated 3-D content experienced?
The answer is, or course, yes.
3-D Through the Years
3-D viewing and its relation to binocular vision is not a new phenomenon. Thanks to Charles Wheatstone and his stereoscope (in the 1830s) and the soon-to-follow stereopticon invented by Oliver Wendell Holmes (1862), many could enjoy this new form of 3-D entertainment.
In more modern times, the first stereoscopic 3-D television was created in the 1920s by Charles Logie Baird, while the 1950s ushered in the first Golden Age of commercially successful and popular 3-D movies (such as "Bwana Devil" and "House of Wax").
Thirty years later, another smaller 3-D boom appeared which was initiated by IMAX. Unfortunately, there were many difficulties with this method of producing 3-D viewing because of the large size and unusual dimensions of the theater screen needed. (1)
As the history of 3-D technology moved into the present day, "Avatar" (2009) could be noted as bringing the next golden age of 3-D to the masses. In just the past few years, we ve witnessed a boom in movies, television, videogames and other media depicted in 3-D.
It should be no surprise then that the events that soon followed this current explosion of interest in 3-D should include the American Optometric Association and an industry group called the 3D@Home Consortium signing a memorandum of understanding, which stated their intent to share data and jointly promote vision health utilizing stereoscopic 3-D displays.2 Both the AOA and 3D@Home have joined forces by collaborating on a new venture: 3deyehealth.org.
As every optometrist knows, the creation of simulated 3-D content requires the input of one image into the right eye and another similar but laterally displaced image into the other eye. When the brain receives the two images, fusion occurs and a sense of depth is created. When optometric vision therapy...