Posted 26 Mar 2011 20:10
Have you ever seen the previews for an awesome looking 3D movie, y'know the one everybody was talking about at school? The one you decided was something you needed to see? So you go to the movies that weekend, all excited standing in line, only to discover part-way through the movie that you're starting to get a headache, and/or feel dizzy/nauseous? Well, congratulations you may have experienced something sometimes called cyber sickness! There are two known causes for this.
Let me explain, the first reason for cyber sickness is essentially motion sickness, so if you get motion sickness easily, you can have a higher chance of feeling sick during 3D movies, too. Well, I'm going to start at the beginning. Your vestibular system is located in your inner ear. It is responsible for things like your balance, posture, and your general orientation. It does many other things, but they aren't really necessary to know for the purpose of this blog. Your vestibular system mainly sends signals to neural structures that control your eye movements, and muscles that keep you upright.
While your eyes are certainly telling your brain that you're in movement, your vestibular system is assuring your brain that you are perfectly still. Your brain freaks out and is tricked into assuming that you have been poisoned, and that you are hallucinating what you are seeing, which will make your brain try to make you throw up to rid your body of the non-existent toxin if you continue watching for much longer. [Note: this is also the suspected cause of the motion sickness, called simulator sickness, you can experience while playing video games.]
The other cause is basically from over-strained eyes. Normally, when something is coming towards us, our eyes roll inwards, and then adjust to focus on the object. When you're watching a 3D movie, on the other hand, your eyes roll inwards ready to focus on the object, but can't, because then you wouldn't be focusing on the screen, you'd be focusing on a random spot in front of the screen. This confuses your brain because your eyes can't focus on the objects that pop out during 3D movies, like they normally would, because they have to stay focused on the screen. So, rather than doing what they would naturally do, your eyes switch between their natural movement and the one they have to do in order to watch the 3D film. In doing so, this can cause serious eye strain which can cause dizziness, nausea and headaches.
The chances of experiencing 3D sickness increase if you have poor eyesight or astigmatism
If this happens to you, try closing one, or both of your eyes for a few seconds occasionally, or take some anti-nausea medication. Sitting farther back can also help. If that doesn't work, then sorry, there really isn't much you can do about it.
Cyber sickness usually happens when viewing 3D movies or virtual reality simulators, although it can also happen when viewing 3D television, and video games.
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