3D movies are good examples of how technology evolves. In earlier days, sci-fi looking red-blue glasses were needed to create the 3D effect but that did not survive the test of time. Now, 3D technology has matured and it seems that all new movies have to be in 3D.
I went to see Avatar special edition yesterday, in 3D. Unfortunately, I am one of the unlucky ones that get eyestrain from watching 3D movies. During the movie, I figured out that looking only at the areas that are in focus will help reduce the strain (seems obvious but our eyes do not naturally do this). This was confirmed by a Shadowlocked blog post that mentions the same eyestrain problem and how to avoid it.
It is apparently a well-known problem for the industry and recent research has shown that it might be bad for your brain to watch 3D movies. Take a look at the research presented here. Go figure… the body is amazing and will tell you if something is wrong, i.e. eyestrain and headache is a warning sign. One would not look directly at the sun either. It hurts. A lot.
The question is: What the hell is going on here? Why is 3D becoming so extremely popular when it has harmful and direct side-effects? Sure, there might be long-term harmful consequences of e.g. looking at a computer screen the entire day but you certainly do not feel it after only 10 minutes in Windows (if you do, it has something to do with Windows, not your screen :-)
One of the most important aspects of technology is to help and not harm so I hope that the current 3D technology is just a stepping stone to something better. A Toms guide post mentions a possible upcoming alternative. I’m already getting excited about throwing away those glasses. Until then, I will just have to close one of my eyes when things get bad. That’s how I endured Avatar — but it certainly does not add to the experience.