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3D Movies Make Some Moviegoers Sick

The Unintended Side Effects of Movies in 3D

The 3D trend may be great for the movie and television industries, but it's literally making some moviegoers sick. In five percent of the population, moves in 3D can actually induce motion sickness. The cause lies in your eyes; 3D movies impose two slightly different images on top of one another, creating depth perception. Both of your eyes have to work together to create the proper three-dimensional image, and when this doesn't happen properly, you can experience side effects.

Though most people aren't likely to experience motion sickness from a 3D film, as many as 30 percent of the movie-going population suffers from a milder vision issue, causing side effects like headaches and eye strain. "The problem comes in with people who have 3D vision but have a weak fusional mechanism. Your eyes are having to work harder. The brain is sending extra impulses to keep the eyes in alignment," says a spokesman for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. When forcing your eyes to view 3D images for an extended period of time, viewers can start to feel eye strain, fatigue, or in extreme cases, motion sickness.

Conflicting messages to your brain add to your body's confusion. When you're watching an extremely realistic movie in 3D, but sitting still, your brain processes a false sense of movement. In sensitive viewers, this is leads to the nausea and headaches associated with motion sickness. If watching movies in 3D makes you queasy — but not queasy enough to give up your beloved flicks — an over-the-counter motion sickness medication should give you some relief.

Source: Getty
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