Do 3-D movies usually give you a headache? According to this study, you’re not alone. Researchers have been able to make a connection between consistent eyestrain headaches and 3D visuals. According to the study, viewing content that uses 3D technology forces your eye muscles to move in new ways that can cause eye pain and headaches.
The good news is there are several techniques that will help you reduce eyestrain and headaches so you can enjoy 3D entertainment with everyone else.
Warm Up Your Eyes
The idea here is for you to work out your eyes like you would work out the rest of your body. I learned this trick from a book I read years ago called Eyerobics. There is a chapter in the book dedicated to warming up your eyes right before you put on your glasses.
So put down the popcorn and let’s work out!
Start by putting your hands over your eyes. Don’t cup the eyes, let your palms touch the eyelids and hold there for 5 minutes. The idea is to warm up the eyes and the tendons around. If your hands are not warm enough, simply rub your hands together for a minute to build friction (and therefore, heat).
Stretch Out You Eyes
Once your eyes are warmed up, then you can start stretching them out.
Open your eyes. Slowly look up without moving your head. Look for about 10 seconds, then move to the right. After ten seconds, look down. Finally, look to the left. Continue to move the eyes around at 5-10 second intervals. This is like stretching your leg muscles before going for a run.
Sit In The Center Of The Room, But Not Too Close To The TV Screen
When watching a 3D movie, you want to be in the center of the room or theater. That way, not only do you get the full visual effect, but your eyes also won’t have to strain.
Adjust Your Body’s Position To The TV Or Movie Screen
Of course, you cannot adjust the theater screen, but in your home, try to make your TV where the center of the set is at eye-level. Looking down or up at a screen causes you to stretch your eyes, and therefore strain them. If you can look straight ahead, it will help your eyes.
Don’t Squint At The Screen
For 3D technology to work, your eyes need to be able to focus correctly.
I don’t have 20/20 vision. I wear contacts most of the time, but when I do have to wear glasses, I can’t watch a 3D screen. For me personally, it’s just too clunky to wear two pairs of glasses at the same time. It’s too much weight on my face and makes the whole experience unpleasant.
But one thing to absolutely avoid is squinting at the screen. If you normally wear glasses, then don’t take them off when you put on your 3D glasses. If you have to squint at the screen, your chance of getting a 3D headache is a lot higher.
Take A Rest And Massage Your Eye Muscles
If you’re starting to feel uncomfortable, then take a rest. Take off the 3D glasses and close your eyes for a few minutes. Sure you will miss a few moments from whatever you are watching, but you’ll feel better in the long run and reduce your chances of getting a 3D headache.
Sometimes I have to do this during a movie. It sucks but it’s worth it. Wait for a slow part in the movie and then close your eyes. Then rub your hands around your eyes to help massage and relax any strained muscles.
Different Types Of 3D Impact Your Eyes Differently
There is more than one standard for 3D technology. 3D movies can be Polarized, shutter lenses or red-blue (the old way). Even out of those types, we still don’t have one standard.
For example, I got some 3D glasses from Gunnar when Tron was released. I went to the theater, but couldn’t use those glasses because they used a polarization technique where the images separated too much. I ended up having to wear theater glasses for the experience.
You make your own decisions, though. If you have a tip or trick to share on how to reduce 3D headaches or keep your eyes from straining, then please let me know in the comments.