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Samsung’s Health Warning for 3DTV Ridiculously Overblown

by on April 15, 2010
in Music and Video, News, TVs & Video Players, 3DTV :: 5 comments

Updated April 21, 2010 to include original text from Samsung below article

According to Samsung’s 3DTV warning, “Photosensitive Seizure Warning and Other Health Risks,” 3DTV may pose a health risk to most people at some point in their lives.

“Pregnant women, the elderly, sufferers of serious medical conditions, those who are sleep deprived or under the influence of alcohol should avoid utilising the unit’s 3D functionality.”

So does that mean you can’t drink a beer while watching the game? Should women abstain from watching 3DTV if they’re newly pregnant? How about the 1 in 5 adults who are sleep deprived, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine?

The document also recommends:

“DO NOT place your TV television near open stairwells, cables, balconies, or other objects that can be tripped over, run into, knocked down, broken or fallen over.”

And:

“Turn off all fluorescent lighting and block sources of direct sunlight before watching in 3D mode. Fluorescent lighting may cause a flickering effect and direct sunlight may affect the operation of the 3D glasses.”

And if you make it far enough to actually watch 3D programming.

“If your eyes show signs of fatigue or dryness…immediately discontinue use of this device and do not resume using it for at least thirty minutes after the symptoms have subsided.”

For the full document click here.

The bottom line is that there hasn't been enough research done to justify such broad statements. Use your common sense.

Samsung has changed the warning on their website since our article was written. The original warning was:

Warning

Children and teenagers may be more susceptible to health issues associated with viewing in 3D and should be closely supervised when viewing these images.

Photosensitive seizure warning and other health risks

Some viewers may experience an epileptic seizure or stroke when exposed to certain flashing images or lights contained in certain television pictures or video games. If you suffer from, or have a family history of epilepsy or strokes, please consult with a medical specialist before using the 3D function.

Even those without a personal or family history of epilepsy or stroke may have an undiagnosed condition that can cause photosensitive epileptic seizures.

Pregnant women, the elderly, sufferers of serious medical conditions, those who are sleep deprived or under the influence of alcohol should avoid utilising the unit's 3D functionality.

If you experience any of the following symptoms, stop viewing 3D pictures immediately and consult a medical specialist:

  • Altered vision
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Involuntary movements such as eye or muscle twitching
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Convulsions
  • Cramps
  • Disorientation

Children and teenagers may be more likely than adults to experience these symptoms. Parents should monitor their children and ask whether they are experiencing these symptoms.

Viewing 3D television may also cause motion sickness, perceptual after effects, disorientation, eye strain and decreased postural stability. It is recommended that users take frequent breaks to lessen the potential of these effects. If your eyes show signs of fatigue or dryness or if you have any of the above symptoms, immediately discontinue use of this device and do not resume using it for at least thirty minutes after the symptoms have subsided.

Watching TV while sitting too close to the screen for an extended period of time may damage your eyesight. The ideal viewing distance should be at least three times the screen height. It is recommended that the viewer's eyes are level with the screen.

Watching TV while wearing 3D glasses for an extended period of time may cause a headache or fatigue. If you experience a headache, fatigue or dizziness, stop viewing TV and rest.

Do not use the 3D glasses for any other purpose than for viewing 3D television. Wearing the 3D glasses for any other purpose (as general spectacles, sunglasses, protective goggles, etc.) may be physically harmful to you and may weaken your eyesight.

Viewing in 3D may cause disorientation for some viewers. Accordingly, DO NOT place your TV television near open stairwells, cables, balconies, or other objects that can be tripped over, run into, knocked down, broken or fallen over.

Guidelines for in-home viewing

To watch in 3D mode you need to put the 3D glasses on and press the power button on top of the glasses [this latter part may vary depending on the specific brand].

Turn off all fluorescent lighting and block sources of direct sunlight before watching in 3D mode. Fluorescent lighting may cause a flickering effect and direct sunlight may affect the operation of the 3D glasses. 


Discussion loading

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From Theo Syslack on April 19, 2010 :: 5:55 pm

As I’ve come to understand it, Samsung has absolutely nothing to gain from bad mouthing 3DTV unnecessarily.  And while I don’t see why wearing 3D glasses is going to hurt the baby in your womb, I don’t think Samsung would want that message to be spread to potential buyers.

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From Suzanne Kantra on April 19, 2010 :: 7:19 pm

You’re right. This is Samsung’s lawyers talking (at least its Australian ones) and it’s not doing 3DTV any favors.  I can only imagine that the people on Samsung’s business side are fighting a lot of fires right now.

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From Nancy Eason on April 21, 2010 :: 11:05 am

I say “kudos” to Samsung for their effort to educate consumers about potential hazards that could result while using their 3D Active Glasses. To say that their warning is “ridiculously overblown” is a clear indication that information was not read carefully or was misunderstood. One concern is that the statement in your feature above mentioning pregnant women and elderly persons is not included in the full text. I have re-read the linked article and have gone to Samsung’s product site and do not find any mention of these two specific groups. Also, when the statements are taken out of context and not read as a whole, one misses the bona fide concerns and warnings intended to protect affected groups. I believe they are trying to convey that falls resulting from seizures or disruptions in balance due to the impact of visual disturbances are a huge concern. Their intent to help has been missed and dismissed.

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From Josh Kirschner on April 21, 2010 :: 12:35 pm

Hi, Nancy.  Samsung changed the language on their website since this story broke.  We pasted in the original language above so you and other readers can see what we were reacting to.

In our opinion, it would have been helpful for Samsung to focus on where the real concerns are, based on actual research and experience. Broadly suggesting that almost every conceivable use of 3DTV may be dangerous, isn’t providing us, as consumers, the information we need to make reasonable decisions for ourselves.

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Take a look at this

From mike on September 12, 2010 :: 11:09 pm

Take a look at this article “3D and Epilepsy” - it adds a different perspective to the subject.

cheers,

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