17 January 2011 Return to news listings
The College of Optometrists offers advice to 6 million people affected
With 3D films and TV becoming more common place in the UK, the College of Optometrists is keen to reassure people that there is no evidence of any long term harm being caused by using 3D displays and indeed may be helpful in uncovering some subtle eye disorders.
When viewing 3D, the images your eyes see are artificially separated by the glasses that you wear. The majority of people don’t usually experience a problem as both eyes have similar sight capabilities and work together to send signals that are turned into a clear image by the brain. However, some people are unable to view 3D or find it uncomfortable or tiring after prolonged viewing. This may be because their eyes are misaligned and are not able to work together properly in order to perceive the depth that 3D viewing requires. This can be a sign of subtle eye disorders which may otherwise go undetected. These eye disorders may also cause difficulty when doing tasks such as reading so we would recommend that people who have difficulties watching 3D have a full eye examination to identify and correct any cause.
Dr Susan Blakeney from the College of Optometrists said: “Most people will be fine when watching 3D films or television and there is no evidence of any more long term harm being caused after watching 3D displays than there is with 2D ones. However, problems with the way your eyes work together can potentially result in headaches and dizziness when using visual display units or 3D displays and if you notice any problems which have not been investigated before it is wise to see your optometrist. As well as ensuring that your eyes are healthy your optometrist may be able to incorporate special lenses called prisms into your spectacles to improve your visual comfort.”
Dr Peter Howarth of Loughborough University is about to publish a review of the potential hazards of viewing 3-D in the College of Optometrist’s research journal Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics. Peter added: “Although people have reported experiencing symptoms when watching 3-D content, specifically headaches and eyestrain, there have been no studies whatsoever which have detected any permanent damage. Furthermore, stationary examples of these types of pictures have been around since Victorian times (Wheatstone stereoscopes), and films have been around since the craze for them in the middle of the last century. The normal eye is adaptable enough to accept small 3-D stereoscopic content without stress. It is only if there are large, prolonged effects that people experience symptoms of eyestrain.”
For further information, please contact:
Edith Barton-Harvey/ Zoe Belhomme
3 Monkeys Communications
020 7009 3100
Notes to Editors:
1. The College of Optometrists is the Professional, Scientific and Examining Body for Optometry in the UK, working for the public benefit. Supporting its Members in all aspects of professional development, the College provides pre-registration training and assessment, continuous professional development opportunities, and advice and guidance on professional conduct and standards, enabling our Members to serve their patients well and contribute to the wellbeing of local communities.
2. Previously known as ophthalmic opticians, optometrists are trained professionals who examine eyes, test sight, give advice on visual problems, and prescribe and dispense spectacles or contact lenses. They also recommend other treatments or visual aids where appropriate. Optometrists are trained to recognise eye diseases, referring such cases as necessary, and can also use or supply various eye drugs.
3. Optometrists study at university for at least three years and participate in a full year of training and supervision, called the pre-registration year, before qualifying. Once qualified, they have the opportunity to develop their interests in specialist aspects of practice such as contact lenses, treating eye diseases, low vision, children’s vision and sports vision.
4. All optometrists practising in the UK must be registered with the General Optical Council, the profession’s regulatory body, and are listed in the Opticians Register. The letters FCOptom or MCOptom after an optometrist’s name means that he or she is a fellow or member of the College of Optometrists.
5. There are currently over 11,500 registered optometrists in the UK.
6. The Research Journal of the College of Optometrists, Ophthalmic & Physiological Optics (OPO), is a leading international interdisciplinary journal that addresses basic and applied questions pertinent to contemporary research in vision science and optometry. The next edition of OPO will be published on 18th February 2011.
Head of Marketing and Communications
College of Optometrists
Tel: 020 7766 4342
Fax: 020 7766 4348
The College's Annual Conference and AGM, Optometry Tomorrow 2011, takes place from Sunday 20 - Monday 21 March at Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool. Visit www.optometrytomorrow.com for programme details and to book.
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