Is 3D TV bad for you?
Samsung warns of epilepsy and stroke risk for some viewers and says 3D TV is not for you if you’ve been drinking
21st April 2010 - 3D TV is claimed to be the next big thing in home
entertainment, but concerns are being raised about health risks for some people
watching the new sets.
There’s a buzz about 3D. 3D films are already proving popular, with Avatar
breaking box office records, while Sky is showing premier league football in 3D
in some pubs before the 3D service launches for the home viewer.
One TV manufacturer has issued warnings that the 3D images could trigger
epileptic seizures or strokes and some doctors agree there are significant
risks. However, not everyone agrees.
So, is 3D TV a real danger, or just like our mothers telling us that watching
too much old style TV would give us ‘square eyes’?
3D TV technology
Different systems use different technologies to give the illusion of 3D
images on a TV screen. This usually involves wearing some kind of special
glasses to make each eye see a different image, leaving the brain to translate
this into 3D.
Some of the glasses are like sunglasses with special filters; others are
connected wirelessly to the TV with special electronic shutters built in to
block and unblock what each eye sees very fast.
Samsung has issued a news release through its Australian office warning that
its active 3D glasses can be affected by fluorescent lighting and sunlight -
and the resulting flickering effect can cause photosensitive seizures and other
The product warning says, “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 or any of your family has a history of epilepsy or stroke, please
consult with a medical specialist before using the 3D function.”
It also says viewers should seek medical attention if they suffer altered
vision, light-headedness, dizziness, involuntary movements such as eye or
muscle twitching, confusion, nausea, loss of awareness, convulsions, cramps and
Samsung advises parents to monitor children and teenagers who it
says may be more likely to experience these symptoms than adults.
The warnings continue, and sound like bad news for couch potatoes: “Viewing in
3D mode 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 likelihood of these
“We do not recommend watching 3D if you are in bad physical condition, need
sleep or have been drinking alcohol.”
It advises viewers not to sit too close to the screen and warns against placing
3D TVs near stairs or balconies as “Viewing in 3D mode may cause disorientation
for some viewers.”