Up To 9 Million Americans Can't See 3DTV, Says Optometrists' Group

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Do you — or does someone you know — suffer from binocular dysfunction?

Here’s another group ogling 3DTV as a potential business opportunity: optometrists.

Between 3 million and 9 million Americans have problems with binocular vision that prevent them from seeing the three-dimensional effects in 3D movies and TV programming, according to American Optometric Association.

“Quite simply, people who have even a small vision misalignment or those who don’t have equal vision in both eyes may not be able to see 3D images properly,” says Dr. Leonard Press, chairman of the AOA’s Pediatrics and Binocular Vision Committee.

The optometrists’ group says individuals with “unstable focusing” or difficulty in coordinating vision with other senses can experience headaches and other symptoms from viewing 3D. The majority of people who suffer from 3D vision complications most often experience headaches (13%), blurred vision (12%) and dizziness (11%), according to an AOA-sponsored survey of 1,007 U.S. adults conducted in April.

Need help? Your friendly neighborhood optometrist is ready to retrain your brain: The AOA says 3D-impaired individuals can undergo optometric vision therapy, which develops efficient visual skills and “re-educates the brain to achieve single, clear, comfortable two-eyed vision that improves eye coordination, focusing and eye movement, ultimately enhancing the 3D viewing experience.”

The potential physical and psychological side effects of 3DTV are starting to make it look like a full-contact sport — more akin to, say, bungee-jumping or scuba-diving than watching the plain-old 2D boob tube.

Recall the Samsung warning included with its 3D televisions shipped in the U.S. advising users to not watch 3DTV in numerous situations, including if they’re out of shape, have been drinking or are pregnant (see Warning! Watching 3DTV Could ‘Cause You to Crush a Nearby Object’).

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Binocular vision problems notwithstanding: Don’t miss 3DTV2010 next week in New York City!

On May 25, the 3DTV2010 event at the Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan — presented by Multichannel News, B&C, TWICE, TV Technology, DV and Videography — will feature keynote speakers ESPN’s Sean Bratches and Best Buy’s Mike Vitelli. I’m moderating a panel, “Getting 3DTV Into the Home: Challenges & Opportunities,” with Comcast’s Mark Hess, DirecTV’s Steven Roberts, Motorola’s Larry Robinson, SES World Skies CTO Alan Young and HDMI Licensing’s Steve Venuti.

Click here for more info: www.multichannel.com/3dtv.

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