Samsung issues health warning for 3DTV viewers

Samsung Electronics has posted an advisory on its corporate web site warning that children and teenagers may be more susceptible to health issues when viewing 3D content on their televisions.

The company also recommends that pregnant woman, the elderly and anyone under the influence of alcohol should refrain from watching programming in 3D.

Samsung also says that wearing 3D glasses for any other purpose may be physically harmful and could weaken your eyesight.

Negative reactions to 3DTV is not uncommon, especially among children and the elderly. Many movie goers reported experiencing dizziness, shakiness and headaches after watching 3D movies such as Avatar and Monsters vs. Aliens when they were released last year.

James Sutton, an optometrist explains: “The problem is that 3D offers a completely unnatural situation. It forces the eyes to work extremely hard. For many people, especially children, it causes eye strain, headaches and dizziness. Watching a busy action film, you can get what feels like motion sickness.”

The warning is especially noteworthy for parents since many of the slated 3D releases in the coming year are marketed towards young children and teens.

The following is the complete text of the Samsung warning.

WARNING

  • Children and teenagers may be more susceptible to health issues associated with viewing in 3D and should be closely supervised when viewing these images.

PHOTOSENSITVE SEIZURE WARNING AND OTHER HEALTH RISKS

  • Some viewers may experience an epileptic seizure or stroke when exposed to certain flashing images or lights contained in certain television pictures or video games. If you suffer from, or have a family history of epilepsy or strokes, please consult with a medical specialist before using the 3D function.
  • Even those without a personal or family history of epilepsy or stroke may have an undiagnosed condition that can cause photosensitive epileptic seizures.
  • 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.
  • If you experience any of the following symptoms, stop viewing 3D pictures immediately and consult a medical specialist:
  1. altered vision;
  2. lightheadedness;
  3. dizziness;
  4. involuntary movements such as eye or muscle twitching;
  5. confusion;
  6. nausea;
  7. convulsions;
  8. cramps; and/ or
  9. disorientation.
  10. Children and teenagers may be more likely than adults to experience these symptoms. Parents should monitor their children and ask whether they are experiencing these symptoms.
  • Viewing 3D television may also cause motion sickness, perceptual after effects, disorientation, eye strain and decreased postural stability. It is recommended that users take frequent breaks to lessen the potential of these effects. If your eyes show signs of fatigue or dryness or if you have any of the above symptoms, immediately discontinue use of this device and do not resume using it for at least thirty minutes after the symptoms have subsided.
  • Watching TV while sitting too close to the screen for an extended period of time may damage your eyesight. The ideal viewing distance should be at least three times the screen height. It is recommended that the viewer’s eyes are level with the screen.
  • Watching TV while wearing 3D glasses for an extended period of time may cause a headache or fatigue. If you experience a headache, fatigue or dizziness, stop viewing TV and rest.
  • Do not use the 3D glasses for any other purpose than for viewing 3D television. Wearing the 3D glasses for any other purpose (as general spectacles, sunglasses, protective goggles, etc.) may be physically harmful to you and may weaken your eyesight.
  • Viewing in 3D may cause disorientation for some viewers. Accordingly, DO NOT place your TV television near open stairwells, cables, balconies, or other objects that can be tripped over, run into, knocked down, broken or fallen over.

GUIDELINES FOR IN-HOME VIEWING

  • To watch in 3D mode you need to put the 3D glasses on and press the power button on top of the glasses.
  • Turn off all fluorescent lighting and block sources of direct sunlight before watching in 3D mode. Fluorescent lighting may cause a flickering effect and direct sunlight may affect the operation of the 3D glasses.
  • Discuss in Digital Home’s HDTV forum.

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