While some people are die-hard 3D moviegoers, others struggle to see the characters come to life and leap off the screen.
Why is this? And what does it have to do with our eyes?
3D Entertainment Attempts To Imitate Normal Vision
Put simply, 3D films attempt to imitate how we see things all the time—in three dimensions. In the theater (as well as in television and gaming systems), this helps the events on the screen feel more real, putting the audience right in the middle of the action. But how does 3D entertainment work?
First, let’s talk about our eyes.
Our eyes are about two to three inches apart from one another, meaning that each eye has a different perspective. Simply alternate closing one eye and then the other to demonstrate this principle–you’ll see that each eye has a slightly different view of the world. Our amazing brains fuse these two images, allowing us to form one 3D image.
To create the three-dimensional effect, 3D movies are filmed using two lenses spaced about two to three inches apart (just like our eyes). Have you noticed how 3D films are fuzzy or blurry when you look at them without 3D glasses? That’s because you are actually seeing two similar images projected at the same time on the screen.
In past years, one of these images was displayed in red and the other blue. Those colorful 3D glasses weren’t just for style–the filters on the glasses only allowed one image to enter each eye, blue images through the blue lens and vice versa. Our brains then create the illusion of a three dimensional image, just as they would in the real world.
You may have noticed, however, that we don’t see much of those iconic red and blue glasses anymore. That’s because 3D entertainment is now utilizing polarized lenses to create the same three-dimensional effect. Without limiting itself to red and blue colors, films’ color and image quality is dramatically improved.
Some People Struggle Viewing In 3D
For 3D entertainment to work and be enjoyable, people need to have good binocular vision–that simply means that the two eyes work together properly. If your eyes aren’t in complete coordination with one another, you won’t get the proper three-dimensional effect when watching 3D movies.
Unfortunately, 30 percent of the population suffers from marginal binocular vision. This means that their visual coordination may be slightly off, making them more susceptible to negative side effects such as headaches, dizziness and nausea while watching 3D films. So when your friend wants to see the latest movie in 2D rather than 3D, now you'll know why.
It May Be Time To Pay Your Eye Doc A Visit
If you experience negative side effects while watching 3D movies, or simply have trouble viewing them, it’s time to get your eyes checked. Hollywood’s job may be to create the illusion that a ball is flying out of the screen directly at you, but your Vision Source® optometrist's job is to help you see and feel your best! Do you have any questions regarding 3D entertainment or how it works? Let us know in the comments below!