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Logo of bmcphBioMed Centralsearchsubmit a manuscriptregisterthis articleBMC Public Health
BMC Public Health. 2012; 12: 779.
Published online 2012 September 13. doi:  10.1186/1471-2458-12-779
PMCID: PMC3490878

A survey of visually induced symptoms and associated factors in spectators of three dimensional stereoscopic movies



The increasing popularity of commercial movies showing three dimensional (3D) computer generated images has raised concern about image safety and possible side effects on population health.

This study aims to (1) quantify the occurrence of visually induced symptoms suffered by the spectators during and after viewing a commercial 3D movie and (2) to assess individual and environmental factors associated to those symptoms.


A cross-sectional survey was carried out using a paper based, self administered questionnaire. The questionnaire includes individual and movie characteristics and selected visually induced symptoms (tired eyes, double vision, headache, dizziness, nausea and palpitations). Symptoms were queried at 3 different times: during, right after and after 2 hours from the movie.


We collected 953 questionnaires. In our sample, 539 (60.4%) individuals reported 1 or more symptoms during the movie, 392 (43.2%) right after and 139 (15.3%) at 2 hours from the movie. The most frequently reported symptoms were tired eyes (during the movie by 34.8%, right after by 24.0%, after 2 hours by 5.7% of individuals) and headache (during the movie by 13.7%, right after by 16.8%, after 2 hours by 8.3% of individuals). Individual history for frequent headache was associated with tired eyes (OR = 1.34, 95%CI = 1.01-1.79), double vision (OR = 1.96; 95%CI = 1.13-3.41), headache (OR = 2.09; 95%CI = 1.41-3.10) during the movie and of headache after the movie (OR = 1.64; 95%CI = 1.16-2.32). Individual susceptibility to car sickness, dizziness, anxiety level, movie show time, animation 3D movie were also associated to several other symptoms.


The high occurrence of visually induced symptoms resulting from this survey suggests the need of raising public awareness on possible discomfort that susceptible individuals may suffer during and after the vision of 3D movies.

Keywords: Visually induced motion sickness, Cibersickness, Three dimensional (3D) movies

Articles from BMC Public Health are provided here courtesy of BioMed Central