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HealthWatch: 3D Movies And Children

Doctor examines young patient who fell ill after watching a 3D movie (credit: CBS 2)

Doctor examines young patient who fell ill after watching a 3D movie (credit: CBS 2)

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Movie theaters all over the country are showing 3D films. Most of them are animated and meant for a young audience, but some are live action adult fare. Either way, the 3D glasses work by alternating images between eyes, tricking your brain into thinking it’s seeing 3D. While lots of fun for most people, as Dr. Max Gomez reports, it’s not for everyone.

Helen Medina told Dr. Gomez what happened when she took her seven-year-old daughter Gabriella to her first 3D movie.

“We’re in the middle of a movie and she decided she wanted to leave. And we didn’t know why, she became a little agressive and said ‘no we need to leave now’,” she said.

Gabriella said it happened each time she tried to watch a 3D flick.

“I would get nauseous and tired. I would fall asleep on my dad,” said Gabriella.

“We observed her color, her skin color, face complexion would change to pale” Helen said.

After a few such events, the Medinas got concerned enough to take Gabriella to the doctor, worried that she might be suffering seizures.

Pediatric neurologist Dr. Steven Wolf of St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital said that he’s seeing more kids having 3D movie problems and epilepsy is rarely to blame.

“These children don’t have epilepsy, but basically that some of them are migraine kids or kids who get easily sea sick or car sick and these motions are triggering off these symptoms,” Dr. Wolf said.

At this age, migraines don’t always cause the same pain that adults suffer. The good news is that the solution is fairly simple: avoid 3D movies. Although that means Gabriella misses out a little.

Some epileptic seizures are triggered by flashing lights and 3D movies can do that as well, but that’s also very rare.

Soon there will be 3D video game systems going on sale, so there will be more ways for kids to be exposed.