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Do You Suffer From 3D Sickness?

Aside from the high cost of active-shutter glasses, one of the biggest complaints about 3D TV is that watching it can make some people physically sick with eye strain, headaches, dizziness, nausea, or even convulsions. This phenomenon has prompted manufacturers such as Samsung and Sony to issue warnings about watching 3D content if you're drunk, pregnant—hopefully not at the same time!—tired, elderly, or prone to seizures. One possible explanation is that stereoscopic 3D is not the same as what we see in the real world, and the human brain responds differently.

I have never experienced any related symptoms while watching 3D TVs, and I realize that such warnings are mostly to cover the company's legal ass. Also, I suspect the incidence of these problems is greater with active-shutter glasses, which alternately open and close 60 times per second, than with passive glasses that are used in most commercial cinemas.

Still, I don't know how common "3D sickness" really is, so I ask you: Have you ever experienced any of the symptoms listed above while watching 3D content, and if so, under what circumstances?

Vote to see the results and leave a comment about your choice, especially if it depends on the program or where you sit. What programs or locations are best and worst?

Do You Suffer From 3D Sickness?
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Scott Wilkinson's picture
I'm surprised that I've felt no ill effects from 3D, since I'm prone to motion sickness, which is why I never ride roller-coasters. I did feel a bit dizzy watching the "video room" in the Sharp booth at CES when the image moved quickly. But no such problem with any 3D imagery I've seen so far.
uavtmsorosk's picture

Is 3D here to stay ? I doubt it . Don't care for it at all .

addyjj's picture

I have only seen two movies in 3d (Avatar and Tron). I never experienced any sickness with either. Since this type of 3D is new it may take years to determine the effects of 3D on people. I read an article on how Nintendo issued a warning with their new 3DS system that kids under a certain age shouldn't use the device. It sounds like they were trying to prevent themselves from being sued, but there must be some level of uncertainty otherwise they wouldn't have issued the warning. So, nobody seems to know for sure and it looks like it may take a while to find out. Just like the correlation between cigarettes and lung cancer.

uavtheo's picture


One item of note on this, I don't get affected by 3D, however, I recently saw Tron in IMAX 3D. And I sat around the middle 1/3 of the theater as I normally do and I have to say that the opening 3D IMAX sequence having the numbers popping off the screen made me feel visually uncomfortable--a feeling I've never had before. So, I might infer that the 3d Sickness might, in some cases, affect people on whether the 3d comes out from the plane of the screen (into the foreground of the theater0 or goes into the plane of the screen (greater depth).

I had no issues once Tron started and never experienced that with Avatar or any other recent 3D I've seen (UP, Despicable Me, etc.). TRON was the first IMAX 3D I've seen.


uavKenny Kraly Jr.'s picture

3D is a gimmick yea I know it is here to stay but I am not a huge fan of it. It is overkill for the home and I think regluar 2D blu-ray is good enough for me. Why don't tv makers start making 4K display's insted of 3D? A 4K display can look so much better on a large screen.

maricopajeff's picture

I saw Avatar in 3D, by the end my eyes were really tired and kind of sore. It was a real relief to take off those glasses.

DaveC's picture

I actively avoid 3D movies, because it gives me a headache, almost instantly.
I find sound quality to be far more important to my enjoyment of a movie than visual effects.

Jarod's picture

I have never felt ill effects due to 3D. And I have seen over 30 different 3D showing, including IMAX 3D, which as Theo had pointed out does have a pretty amazing number countdown sequence at the very beginning that if anybody were to get sick off of 3D that would be the time. Seriously though, after hours of 3D viewing; RealD 3D, Dolby 3D, IMAX 3D, and active-shutter systems from Panasonic, Sony, Samsung, and LG, I have had not ill effects. I think the same people that get sick on roller-coasters may get some ill feelings on quick action 3D.

Scott Wilkinson's picture
As far as I can see, there are two reasons why manufacturers don't make 4K displays: (1) it's very expensive, so few people will be able to afford them, and (2) there is no commercially available 4K content. (Most movies are archived at 4K these days, but there is no distribution channel for consumers.) Both of these factors will improve over time, but in my estimation, it will be a few years at least before we see any 4K displays and content in the consumer marketplace. Meanwhile, it's relatively easy to make 3D displays at the current resolution, which is why the industry went that way for now.

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