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Wednesday 19th June 2019

3D viewing won't trigger epilepsy

6th December 2011

Anyone watching a 3D movie runs a very slight risk of seizure, but that risk does not appear to be higher in epileptics, according to a recent German study.


The researchers found, however, other unpleasant reactions were quite common.

Study author Herbert Plischke, executive director of the University of Munich's Generation Research Programme, said his study of a group of children who had epilepsy had no increased seizure risk from watching movies in 3D.

When watching 3D movies, about 20% of children seemed to experience nausea, headaches, or dizziness.

Plischke said all children seemed to have a higher than usual vulnerability to seizure while watching 3D movies.

The actual vulnerability, however, would depend upon the content of what was being shown on television, and not the technology itself.

While the idea behind 3D movies is not new, the upsurge of consumer interest in the idea has spawned countless movies that require the wearing of 3D glasses in recent years.

Now, with televisions that also make use of 3D glasses becoming more and more common, some medical professionals and researchers have raised concerns about how the technology might affect people.

One study recently found that, for various reasons related to eye coordination, about 30% of all 3D viewers may experience headaches or nausea when watching such movies.

The sensation experienced by such people is similar to feeling seasick.

For the study, the researchers tested 100 children, all of whom were about 12 years old, for sensitivity to bright lights.

All of the children were epileptic.

Each of the children then watched 3D television, sitting just under seven feet away from the screen.

One of the children had a seizure after 15 minutes of viewing.

That child had an unusually high frequency of seizures, and normally had between three and four seizures a day.

During the 3D TV test, one fifth of the children said they experienced nausea and headaches.

A slightly smaller number of children said they experienced nausea and headaches during the light sensitivity test.

The researchers also used EEG readings of the children's brains during both tests.

Orrin Devinsky, director of NYU Langone Medical Center's Epilepsy Centre, who was not involved in the study, said that the finding sounded perfectly in line with what he might expect.

He said that, if there was to be a problem, it would be with the content, namely flashing imagery, which would be a concern in 2D or 3D.


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