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Avatar: A Stereo-Vision Test?

Not only does the movie, Avatar, bring to life some awe-inspiring computer-generated visual effects but it’s also a vision test of sorts. In order to see the “floating” or 3-D effect of the movie, an individual must have a pair of those nifty 3-D glasses AND the ability for stereopsis.

What is stereopsis?   It is the ability to experience depth perception to its fullest extent, kind of like a built in 3-D vision.   But, in order to acheive full stereopsis, vision must be correctable to near 20/20  and the two eyes must be working together very well.  Many individuals cannot experience the 3-D effects of movies, such as Avatar, because they are not able to achieve stereopsis.   Potential causes for a lack of stereopsis include amblyopia (lazy eye), strabismus (eye turn), poor binocular coordination, or medical conditions causing decreased vision in one or both eyes.

If the Avatar characters and the rest of Pandora do not appear to be “floating” on the theater screen, it may be due to an inability to achieve stereopsis and it signals the need for a visit to the optometrist to evaluate this loss of important visual function.

Eagerly anticipating a sequel,

Dr. Beach.