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Why You Feel Sick After a 3D Movie


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With 3D movies hitting theaters all the time, more and more people are taking the opportunity to see the latest blockbusters in this exciting format. However, as these movies become popular, stories of people getting sick after watching them are popping up.

In fact, the Italian ministry of health recently confiscated about 7,000 pairs of 3D movie glasses over evidence that they may not have been cleaned effectively between uses and may contribute to short-term eye-sight problems.

3D Glasses Carry Germs

A recent study done by Good Housekeeping revealed that the special glasses movie watchers everywhere don so they can have the 3D experience carry germs that cause skin infections, conjunctivitis, food poisoning, sepsis, and even pneumonia.

The study tested wrapped and unwrapped glasses in seven theaters in the New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut area and even found one pair with the germ that causes staph infections. However, doctors responded to the study stating that nothing is completely sterile and the same germs would likely be found on lots of surfaces in movie theaters.

What You Can Do

The Good Housekeeping report found that using alcohol wipes to clean glasses before you wear them reduces the amount of germs found on the glasses by 95 percent. Washing your hands after using the glasses and before touching your face or food can also help reduce your risk of getting sick.

Headaches and Blurred Vision

Headaches and blurred vision during and after 3D movies is usually a result of strained eyes. Normally when an object moves toward you your eyes converge (move inward) and follow its path and also accommodate (change the lens shape) to keep the object in focus.

However, when watching a 3D movie, as your eyes try to follow the objects that move off the screen toward you they converge to follow the object but can not accommodate because they must stay focused on the screen, rather than the object. This unnatural movement often causes headaches and blurred vision.

A University of California Berkeley dubbed this effect “vergence accommodation conflict" and found that people in their 50's and 60's were less likely to experience side effects while younger people may struggle more.

What You Can Do

Most theaters with newer technology use a single projector to alternate between both the right-eye and left-eye images (as opposed to the old-fashioned approach of using two projectors) at a rate of 144 times per second. This minimizes the properties that caused headaches among viewers.

Older stereoscopic glasses (with one red and one blue lens) may also contribute to headaches, so finding a theater with new technology will help reduce your chances of coming out of the movie with a headache. Also, trying not to look at the unfocussed parts of the image may help keep headaches under control.

Motion Sickness

Movies done in 3D confuse your brain when they trick your inner ear into thinking you are moving while your body knows it is sitting still. When this confusion happens, people often experience motion sickness, headaches, and nausea.

What You Can Do

Looking away from the screen for a minute when you feel nauseas may help reduce your feelings of motion sickness. You can also take some motion sickness medication before going to see the movie.

The health care industry is full of interesting facts that relate to activities people do every day, like go to the movies. My Colleges and Careers is an excellent resource for more information on how to get involved in this, and other exciting industries.


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