3D Blindness Affects 12% Of Brits: Eyecare Trust

Jonathan Sutton

A statement on 3D TV has been issued by a British charity that aims to raise awareness about visual health and regular eyecare, warning that up to 12% of the British population have a form of visual disorder or “3D blindness” which may impair their 3D viewing experience.

According to the Eyecare Trust, between 10% to 12% of the UK population (i.e. more than 6 milliion Brits) suffer from a condition known as binocular visual impairment that results in either a partial or total loss of stereoscopic depth perception. This means that their brains will have difficulty processing and then fusing the 3D images which are delivered through the 3D glasses to their eyes from a 3D TV. Those affected may simply see a blurry picture (due to their inability to properly construct 3D images in their brains), or worse still experience eye strain, headache or sickness.

One of the most common causes of binocular visual impairment stems from misalignment between the left and right eyes (in other words, both eyes do not aim in the same direction). Medically known as strabismus, esotropia or exotropia, these easily noticeable physical conditions are more commonly called “cross-eyed”, “wall eye” or “wandering eye”.

There is another disorder called amblyopia or “lazy eye” – where both eyes are physically normal but one suffers from reduced vision because the visual information it receives is for some reason ignored by the brain – that leads to poor binocular vision. Other causes include diplopia (double vision), astigmatism and hyperopia (farsightedness).

Depending on the individual cases, the Eyecare Trust said that some simple remedies, such as a pair of new glasses or some vision therapy (supervised training to improve eye teaming, visual coordination and depth perception), may be sufficient to restore binocular vision.

The charity was keen to stress that watching 3D TV in itself does not cause any long-term damage to the eyes. Viewers who start experiencing symptoms of headache, blurred vision and nausea are advised to simply take off their 3D glasses and stop watching the screen.

Source: Eyecare Trust