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3D Exposed—Bring the latest technology home

3D entertainment is not just for the theater anymore! With the growing number of 3D television sets, 3D networks, and 3D video game consoles in the last year alone, chances are you'll be trading in your movie ticket for your remote control to experience the thrill of three dimensions from the comfort of your own couch.

Make the Most of Your Experience

If you're one of the millions thirsting for more 3D — especially after last month's release of the Nintendo 3DS hand-held gaming system, here's what Nate Bonilla-Warford, OD, a VSP doctor with Bright Eyes Family Vision Care in Tampa, FL and many other eye doctors are telling their patients.

  • Get a customized view
    For those who wear prescription glasses or contacts, a customized pair of 3D glasses with a built-in prescription will soon be available through your eye doctor and can eliminate the need to wear 3D glasses over your own pair, making for a better experience.
  • Find new focus
    For patients whose eyes don't respond well to visual stress, viewing 3D entertainment can be sometimes be difficult. Glasses with special prisms may help correct focus and eye coordination problems.
  • Treat your eyes to vision therapy
    Special treatment and eye exercises are another way that patients can develop awareness of their coordination and focusing. "This type of practice is analogous to physical therapy," explains Dr. Bonilla-Warford. "And can help make significant improvements in quality of life over time."

How Much is Too Much?

With the rise of any new technology, safety and potential health risks must be taken into consideration. So how much 3D viewing is too much? And are some of us at greater risk than others?

  • Protecting young eyes
    "Children are using devices much, much earlier in life," explains Dr. Bonilla-Warford. "The younger the child, the less mature their visual system and the less capable they are to handle visual stress in general." As with anything, moderation is a good rule of thumb. But because kids are so plugged-in, and are often less aware of their own limits, it's a good idea to monitor your child's exposure.
  • Take 20
    Watch for red eyes, headaches, and squinting, and encourage taking breaks. "We like to apply the 20-20-20 rule," explains Dr. Bonilla-Warford. "Make a habit of taking a 20-second break every 20 minutes to stretch, breath and focus on something 20 feet away. This gives you a chance to rest and check in with yourself."

And of course, if you or your child is having difficulty with 3D viewing, make an appointment to see you VSP doctor right away. "A non-routine visit could help us detect certain underlying problems that may have otherwise gone unnoticed."

See what else Dr. Bonilla-Warford has to say on 3D gaming and clear up other myths around 3D technology. Still want more? Check out this video about 3D effects on the eye with Bill Nye the Science Guy!