3D and Vision Health

3D TV

While 3D technology has been around for over a decade,  it’s only made its way into the home fairly recently. Along with it comes concern over vision health, especially for young viewers. But is that concern justifiable?

Consumer Reports says no evidence currently supports the concern that prolonged or frequent viewing of 3D content could cause eye problems for most users. But, there are cautions involving specific groups of individuals.

Who Should be Cautious When Viewing 3D?

  • Individuals using handheld 3D devices. In a Consumer Reports article, the American Optometric Association says that “due to closer viewing distance, handheld 3D devices actually place higher demands on the eyes than do movies, so more frequent breaks are recommended.”
  • Young children. Nintendo 3D warns against use for children under 6 because of possibly causing vision damage in developing eyes, but experts say children over the age of 3 can view 3D safely.
  • The elderly. Aging eyes naturally become increasingly sensitive to glare and require higher contrast than younger eyes.
  • Children & adults with a family history of epilepsy.  “What are the Dangers of 3D Glassesexplains that these individuals may be at risk of a seizure or stroke due to the bright, flashing light portrayed in a 3D environment.

While no research exists supporting permanent damage specifically from viewing 3D, keep in mind that 3D glasses do manipulate eyes to see images on the screen as 3D, and this can cause eye strain, headaches, blurred vision, disorientation and nausea.

Eye Strain NOT a Problem Unique to 3D Viewing

In fact, HealthGuidance says that “watching any TV can cause some problems with eye strain and the reason for this is that eyes have to constantly adjust to changes in brightness and contrast.”

Prolonged 3D viewing as well as increased strain during the “training period” eyes go through when you first begin watching 3D on a regular basis DO cause eye strain, so be sure to use the following guidelines to ease that strain.

Note that many of these tips also apply to prolonged viewing any other type of screen (computer, regular television, etc.) as well.

  • Consider watching 3D at the theater when possible. Viewing theater 3D is not as bad for your eyes probably because of the fixed position of the audience along with the larger screen size.
  • Know what you’re watching. HealthGuidance says, “Things converted from 2D to 3D are often worse because they were never designed to be viewed in 3D and so have the biggest changes in depth.”
  • Take regular breaks. Allow eyes time to relax, especially when first start watching 3D to allow your eyes to be “trained” to view 3D.
  • Make adjustments. Lower the contrast & brightness on ALL TVs, so the TV won’t affect the brightness of the entire room, which means eyes have less adapting to do.
  • Use good habits for reducing eye strain in general. Understand the importance of Preventing & Reducing Eye Strain as well as Managing Electronic Display Eye Strain.
  • Consider viewing distance. 3D University.net says to, “Remember that viewing distance should be 3x or more the height of the screen.”
  • Sit with eyes level with the screen.
  • Have overall soft lighting in the room when watching 3D TV.
  • Turn off fluorescent lighting.
  • Block sources of direct sunlight before watching in 3D mode.
  • Rest eyes by looking away occasionally during your 3D viewing time.
  • Consider placement of your TV set for optimal lighting conditions.

Also, remember that watery eyes or any visual discomfort on a long-term basis while watching 3D or at any other time should be addressed with your physician since people who have problems with 3D viewing may have underlying issues caused by an undiagnosed eye problem. Again, no evidence suggests 3D viewing causes these long-term problems.

The key for 3D viewing – and really for ANY screen viewing – is moderation. To find out more about 3D viewing and eye health, check out the 3D Vision and Eye Health FAQ provided by the American Optometric Association.

Preventing & Reducing Eye Strain

Eye FatigueJust like muscles fatigue and strain through overuse during exercise, heavy lifting and even yard work, so too can eye muscles suffer fatigue and strain through overuse. And just like leg, back or arm muscles need time to rest and recuperate after times of extensive strain, eye muscles also need rest.

Common causes of eye strain resulting from overuse include:

  1. Extended use of electronics including computers, cell phones, tablets and televisions.
  2. Extended periods of intense focus such as when driving & reading.
  3. Underlying eye problems. Eye strain won’t cause these, but certain eye conditions can worsen eye fatigue.
  4. Extreme light exposure. Bright lights, glare and insufficient lighting all contribute to eye strain.
  5. Individual factors such as stress level and posture also impact intensity of eye strain.

Just like leg or arm muscle show clear signs of fatigue, so too do eye muscles. While everyone recognizes when eyes become tired, additional signs can help catch the situation before extreme fatigue sets in, which prevents the more debilitating symptoms like severe headaches and inability to focus.

Signs of severe eye fatigue include:

  1. Sore eyes
  2. Trouble focusing, double vision or blurred vision
  3. Dry, or watery eyes
  4. Light sensitivity
  5. Neck, shoulder or back pain

Fortunately, eye strain does not permanently damage eyes or change their anatomy. Unfortunately, strain on the eye muscles does significantly impact an individual’s productivity. In fact, up to 90% of computer workers experience eye strain, and WebMD says this discomfort could be responsible for up to 10 million eye examinations yearly. This number is expected to grow with the increasing use of handheld devices that cause added eye strain because of looking at small text sizes. WebMD also says digital devices may add to eye strain by causing individuals to blink less, resulting in tired, itchy, dry and burning eyes.

Yet another similarity eye strain holds with other types of muscle strain involves the many and varied ways for preventing and relieving the discomfort.

Suggestions for preventing and relieving eye strain include:

  1. Taking breaks. Eye experts, including those at the Mayo Clinic, recommend the 20-20-20 rule for preventing eye strain. This involves taking a break every 20 minutes from any activity causing eye strain. During that break, look about 20 feet away for about 20 seconds.
  2. Changing poor habits. In addition to taking frequent breaks, consider simply minimizing screen time. Other habits to consider changing include making sure you blink often enough and varying activities throughout the day.
  3. Paying attention to ergonomics. Simple ergonomic changes for reducing and preventing eye strain include choosing screens that tilt & swivel, using an adjustable chair, and placing a document holder next to your computer screen. Not only can these adjustments help eyes feel better, they will likely ease the strain on back and neck muscles too.
  4. Adjust lighting & contrast. Changes to lighting and general visibility can also help ease eye strain. Those changes include using a glare filter over computer screens, changing lighting to reduce glare and reflection, and adjusting desk position and/or using screens to avoid glare from natural light through windows. Also, simply cleaning smudges from computer screens helps a lot with improving visibility and thus reducing eye strain.
  5. Consider alternative approaches. Maybe you’ve done all of the above and still struggle with eye strain. Consider learning cupping as well as how to properly massage your eyes to help relieve eye strain. Other approaches include using artificial tears and resting eyes in complete darkness. Also consider wearing occupational glasses, such as computer safety glasses, to increase contrast perception and filter out glare and reflective light.

Even though eye strain does not permanently damage eyes, it definitely affects individual productivity. Even worse, though, is that impaired vision caused by eye strain can create safety issues resulting in a severely worse situation with more permanent consequences.

For your own comfort and safety and potentially that of others as well, decide on a few small changes you can make today to prevent and reduce eye strain. Chances are good that no one method for reducing eye strain will provide complete and permanent relief, so consider developing an eye rest routine combining the above suggestions to help prevent, reduce and relieve your eye strain.

Introducing Oakley’s NEW Prizm™ Lens Technology

oakley-si-prizm-graphic

Oakley’s NEW Standard Issue Prizm™ Lenses for its shooting and tactical line of glasses provides peak performance that starts with razor-sharp focus. This new lens enhances the ability of the human eye to adapt and to see with sharpness while providing protection and comfort for wearers.

Specifically designed with the needs of marksmen in mind, the NEW Prizm™ Lens provides optimal vision in a variety of field conditions. By strategically blocking wavelengths along the color spectrum, the lens maximizes contrast between colors, resulting in enhanced vision and reduced eye fatigue.

Prizm™ Lens Features

Because Oakley’s Prizm™ lenses are color-tuned specifically for shooting, they boost a shooter’s recognition of targets by blocking background distractions such as dirt, trees and sky. These lenses will also improve a wearer’s ability to see reticle patterns through a scope more clearly.  This allows shooters to better determine scale or position when honing in on targets.

The Prizm™ currently comes in two lens types, the TR45 and the TR 22. The TR 45 Prizm™ Lens is a lighter-shaded lens and offers 45% VLT (visible light transmission), perfect for overcast days or low-light conditions. The TR22 Prizm™ Lens is a darker shade and allows for 22% VLT, better for bright, sunny days.

All Oakley lenses are made from Plutonite, Oakley’s high purity optical grade polycarbonate to protect wearers from fragments that could damage eyes. All lenses also block 100% of UVA, UVB, UVC & harmful violet-blue light up to 400nm.

Also standard are a smudge-free lens coating, a secure fit even in wet conditions via hydrophilic Unobtainium nose pads, an advanced backside anti-fog coating, and a front-side hard coating for scratch resistance.

Prizm™ Lens Frame Options

The new CE Prizm™ Lenses come in several frame options.

The SI Ballistic M Frame 3.0 is compatible with helmet-mounted night vision devices & MICH, ACH, CVC, PASGT & Crye helmets. This frame is also compatible with over-ear hearing protection/comms, has a quick, tool-free lens change, and is chemical and impact resistant as well as ultra lightweight. And, of course, the SI Ballistic M Frame 3.0 meets all ballistic and tactical standards for military use.

Not only does the SI Ballistic M Frame 3.0 protect soldiers from the smallest, mission-ending fragment, it also provides the optical clarity that helps soldiers avoid adding danger to an already dangerous situation. With uncompromising comfort, soldiers can concentrate and stay focused in a way that maximizes their efficiency.

Rounding out Oakley’s new Prizm™ lens offerings for ballistic and tactical wear is the Oakley Tactical SI M-Frame Helo Gasket for Ballistic 2.0 and 3.0 . The Helo Gasket is a lightweight and soft rubberized gasket that blocks wind and dust and is ideal for airborne and rotary wing operations.

Both Prizm™ lenses also come in the Oakley SI Radar Range frame. This frame is lightweight, stress-resistant and comfortable. It comes with multiple interchangeable nose pad options for a customizable and secure fit.

For individuals needing both lens types, the Oakley SI Radar Range CE Array and the Oakley SI Ballistic M Frame 3.0 CE Array both provide interchangeable lens options that include the TR22 and the TR45.Oakley SI Prizm Array

Another frame option, the Oakley SI Flak Jacket with Prizm™ Lens is currently in production stages and will soon be available.

All Oakley Prizm™ glasses meet or exceed ANSI standards.