Can 3D Movies Be Therapeutic?



The concept of using S3D movies therapeutically was advanced by Bruce Bridgeman, a PhD from California, who experienced a stereoscopic awakening, as originally detailed in this CNN coverage last year.  This month’s issue of Optometry and Vision Science has a great article authored by Dr. Bridgeman on his personal experiences.  Although because of copyright laws I can only provide you with the abstract, I’d strongly encourage you to obtain the entire article.  It is a very insightful and delightful read because of Dr. Bridgeman’s personal involvement in vision research related to prism adaptation and other key aspects of binocular vision research.

Dr. Bridgeman gives some advantages of using S3D movies as therapy.  They include continuous motion images within very natural viewing scenes in a complex field.  Now before we get carried away about substituting S3D movies for optometric vision therapy, let’s realize that this particularly movie represents the creme-de-la-creme of S3D efforts.  No movie before or since has been done with as much artistry in terms of balancing the crescendo of S3D effects over the length of the film.  The depth script was marvelous and had just the right balance to bring out the best in Bridgeman’s binocular vision and stereo tuning.


Having said that, we are certainly incorporating more of these principles into contemporary vision therapy programs.  How?  Take a look here.  We strive to seek a healthy balance between targets and phases emphasizing one eyed vs. two-eyed viewing.  Between artificial and natural scenes; between what we ask the patient to do in the office under controlled conditions, and what we ask to be done outside of the office.



Dr. Bridgeman writes the following in his Academy article:  “Curious about the nature of my stereo experience I contacted Schor and Tyler; both answered with references to the experiences of Susan Barry, ‘Stereo Sue’ in The Mind’s Eye by Oliver Sacks.  Also a strabismic and a neuroscientist, she had acquired stereo vision through a year of training with an optometrist.  Was it possible that 2 hours of Hugo had accomplished the same thing in me?  I wrote an email to Sacks; his secretary forwarded it to Stereo Sue, who put me in touch with Barry Sandrew, who had worked with Martin Scorcese on the 3D aspect of Hugo; Dr. Leonard Press, a leader in the field of visual rehabilitation in adults; and several others.  Stereoscopic vision acquired in adulthood is becoming a team effort.”

A team effort indeed.


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