Warning: 3D May Be Hazardous to Your Health
Samsung delivers precautions to viewers who may be photosensitive, pregnant, tipsy, prone to seizures and more.
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April 15, 2010 by Arlen Schweiger

People are gaga over 3D TV these days, but it may not be all fun and games for everyone. Display manufacturer Samsung, which recently began shipping its new 3D HDTVs, has posted a medical warning on its website, “Viewing TV Using the 3D Function” (PDF link) to read before you or your child watch 3D.

According to the safety information, for example, “Pregnant women, the elderly, sufferers of serious medical conditions, those who are sleep deprived or under the influence of alcohol should avoid utilising the unit’s 3D functionality.” So you may not want to fill your eyes with that double vision and 3D vision, to paraphrase Foreigner.

The initial warning from Samsung states: “Children and teenagers may be more susceptible to health issues associated with viewing in 3D and should be closely supervised when viewing these images.”

If you’ve ever been through a 3D demonstration, it’s easy to see why Samsung (and presumably other manufacturers that may post similar warnings) wants to ensure it has covered its bases and offered such safety information. Slipping on 3D glasses, plus the initial vision immediately after taking them off, can be rather uncomfortable or headache-inducing if you’re not used to it. I know a demo from Mitsubishi a couple of years ago, while very cool to see, left me a tad queasy afterward.

The ramifications can be very serious. Under the “Photosensitive Seizure Warning and Other Health Risks” section, Samsung points to those who have history of epileptic seizure or stroke when exposed to flashing images or lights, to consult a doctor before using 3D.

Other symptoms to keep in mind that you may experience, notes Samsung, include:

  • altered vision
  • lightheadedness
  • dizziness
  • involuntary movements such as eye or muscle twitching
  • confusion
  • nausea
  • loss of awareness
  • convulsions
  • cramps
  • disorientation

Especially on that last symptom, Samsung advises: “Accordingly, DO NOT place your TV near open stairwells, cables, balconies, or other objects that can be tripped over, run into, knocked down, broken or fallen over.”

Other than all of that, you’re good to go. Samsung made no warnings about letting your kids watch Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience, so that’s on you.

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Arlen Schweiger - Contributor, Electronic House Magazine
Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com and Electronic House magazine.

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