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What to Do if You Feel Sick Watching 3D Movies

by Suzanne Kantra on January 10, 2011

boy watching 3D movieWhen you watch a 3D movie, do you experience symptoms like headache, nausea, dizziness, blurred vision or double vision? If so, you may be one of the 16% of the population affected by 3D Vision Syndrome.

According to the American Optometric Association, 3D Vision Syndrome is caused by common binocular vision problems, such as:

  • Amblyopia (lazy eye) / Strabismus (eye turns)
  • Convergence Insufficiency
  • Convergence Excess

However relief is possible once you have a proper diagnosis and treatment plan, according to Dr. Dominick Maino, Professor of Pediatrics/Binocular Vision, Illinois College of Optometry/Illinois Eye Institute.

Dr. Maino recommends that you should be checked by an Optometrist for a binocular vision problem if you experience discomfort after watching 3D content. You may be a candidate for vision therapy, a program that provides repetitive tasks geared to train your eyes to work properly.

In addition to greater comfort in watching 3D content, 3D vision therapy improves near vision tasks, like reading and using the computer, and vision performance for sports, skeet shooting, driving a car or riding a bike.

Kids might not know they have a vision problem, so make sure to ask them how they feel after watching 3D content—symptoms of discomfort could be a sign there is an underlying problem. The American Optometric Association recommends the first screening at 6-12 months and then every year or two. You can even get a free initial screening for infants 6-12 months through the InfantSEE program.

And to help avoid issues while watching movies, Dr. Maino recommends you sit at least halfway back in the movie theater. The closer you sit, the more your problems will be exacerbated.


Music and Video, TVs & Video Players, Health and Home, Health & Fitness, Family and Parenting, Tips & How-Tos, 3DTV

Discussion loading


From Dr. Dominick Maino on January 10, 2011 :: 1:54 pm

Hello Suzanne…Just wanted to say thanks for doing such an awesome job of moderating the 3D Moms session at the Consumer Electronics Show and for posting this info on your blog.



From Steve Dowling on October 04, 2011 :: 11:17 pm

I’ve only watched one movie in 3D, My Bloody Valentine. I didn’t get sick at all, but I definitely could see how it happens. I think taking a break halfway through the movie helps.



From Kale on January 10, 2012 :: 10:43 am

Or you could just buy a pair of Hank Green’s 2D glasses for two bucks instead of this crazy expensive treatment
Heres how they woke:

“When you watch a 3D movie, there are actually two images being projected onto the screen. That’s why the screen is blurry when you look at it without glasses. In 3D glasses one of the lenses blocks one image and the other lens blocks the other image.

Thus, when you watch a 3D movie each of your eyes are seeing a slightly different image. Your brain combines those images together, creating the illusion of a 3D image.

2D Glasses block the same image with both lenses, so each eye gets the same picture resulting in a 2D image and an elimination of eyeball strain.”

And a link to him explaining it in video form:!



From Dominick M Maino on February 27, 2015 :: 12:14 pm

Hank want’s to sell you a bad solution that does not solve the problem. You end up paying extra for a 3D movie and not being able to see it in 3D. Do not fall for this scam!! Do What I said. Get an appropriate diagnosis and then appropriate treatment!



From Kiersten on February 29, 2012 :: 10:39 pm

We love your posts over at Digitwirl. Full of awesome tips- our subscribers would love your blog!

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Digitwirl: Making Tech Work for You



From Leander Loapiano on February 27, 2015 :: 8:05 am

I personally don’t even like to watch 3D movies, it moves away the focus on the plot smile


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