Eye expert: Watching 3D for an hour-and-a-half is the maximum

Eye specialist and MD of Butterflies Healthcare, James Sutton, has told VideoGaming247 that it's best to keep viewing of 3D imagery to less than two hours. Speaking in an exclusive interview with the site, the UK optometrist stated that prolonged 3D use in video games is a "worry".

"I would have said about an hour, an hour-and-a-half, to be about the maximum," Sutton said about the maximum viewing time for a single sitting of 3D content. It affects each individual differently as some people aren't all that phased by the process.

"A lot of people do say when they come out of the cinema that they are aware they’ve done something different with their eyes, even if it’s not to the extent of a headache or sickness, but they’re aware that it was hard work to watch.

"I’d have said that was more than enough," he said. A video game session normally lasts for much longer than an hour-and-a-half movie, which is where the greater problem lies. "I would worry about people spending hours doing it, I must say."

Sony recently updated their Terms of Service to include a warning of the side effects of 3D viewing and to advise users to take "regular breaks while watching 3D video or playing stereoscopic 3D games," and to ensure they're "long enough to allow any feelings of discomfort to subside."

Sutton is also worried about Ubisoft's prediction that 3D will become mainstream in 3 years. "If there isn’t a way when you’re watching something to say, 'Actually, I don’t want to watch this in 3D,' then I would say yes, it is worrying, because you’re not catering for a significant proportion of people who are going to struggle,” he warned.

"When you create 3D, the two images have to be separated slightly, so your eyes are having to look at things slightly removed from each other; that’s what gives you the 3D depth. That’s an artificial situation, because you’re trying to look at something coming out at you that isn’t really coming out at you," explained Sutton.

"It’s quite a lot of work for you to do that for a sustained period… There’s a proportion of people that find that, for the prolonged period of time that they’re having to do it, it will cause eye-strain, as they’re working too hard to create what is, in effect, a visual illusion."

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