3D movies are an expensive gadget for people with two working eyes, a frustrating exercise for me
Every once in a while you get a revelation about something that has bothered you your entire life – something that, for some reason, you never quite understood.
During the pandemic, as I spent hours and hours switching between my laptop and my phone, unable to leave my home as I waded through online school, I began to think about my vision that deteriorated continuously. And I came to a very stupid realization.
I was absolutely right to hate 3D movies.
The fancy way to describe what is wrong with my eyes is “strabic amblyopia” or amblyopia (reduced vision in one eye) caused by strabismus (abnormal alignment of the eyes). It’s basically a complicated way of saying that I have a lazy right eye that turns inward, and I haven’t been able to see properly with it in years.
I’ve been wearing glasses since I was eight or nine, just old enough that correcting my vision problems wasn’t really in the cards. As I got older, the vision in both of my eyes kept deteriorating and my contact lens prescription got stronger and stronger. At one point I had a pair of metal rimmed glasses with a straight lens so thick the glass always looked like it was ready to pop out of the frame.
At 21, there is virtually no chance of repairing my right eye. I can barely see with one of the strongest prescriptions I can get that has basically stayed the same for years.
Basically, I don’t have binocular vision. Do you know what binocular vision is for? The pleasure of 3D movies.
The glasses they give you at Cineplex may no longer feature the classic blue and red, but the new RealD 3D black plastic glasses work essentially on the same principle: the lenses are slightly different and they work together to create the lens. illusion of depth on the cinema screen. While classic glasses relied on lenses of different colors to achieve this effect, the new ones use different polarizations in each lens.
Whenever I see a 3D movie, I stop trying to watch about 30 minutes after the movie starts because the image is just too blurry. Double vision is bad enough when it’s your everyday experience, but when you go to see a 3D movie, that’s the whole point of the experience. It’s not like I can just close my evil eye to clear up the headache.
And it’s not just me and my lazy-eyed compatriots who can’t stand watching them. When Avatar – the “revolutionary” 3D film by director James Cameron – first released in 2009, reports of headaches and nausea have been corroborated by studies which have found that 3D technology causes unnatural eye movements that cause fatigue.
Not to mention the discomfort of the glasses themselves, especially if you have to stack them on top of the ones you’re already wearing. And what about these ticket prices? Isn’t the price hike at the concession stand enough?
It may have taken me years to fully understand the root of my anti-3D feelings, but now I realize that I’ve always been right. If some moviegoers want to continue paying too much for this uncomfortable and disappointing gadget, I won’t be the one to stop them. But personally, my eyes are wide and I feel pretty comfortable with my decision to never go see a 3D movie again.