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Eye Doctors Offer Advice for Viewers on Super Bowl 3D Ads
Date:1/23/2009

AURORA, Ohio, Jan. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Two Super Bowl commercials will provide a unique opportunity to screen for amblyopia and other vision problems which make 3D vision impossible. If you can't see the 3D effects, you may have a vision problem, advises the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD).

Thanks to DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc., PepsiCo's SoBe Lifewater, Intel Corporation and NBC, a first-of-its kind, nationwide 'Monstrous' 3D event for Super Bowl XLIII will be among the most highly-anticipated Super Bowl commercials. But many viewers may be disappointed when they don't see the dazzling 3D effects.

"Research has shown that up to 56% of those 18 to 38 years of age have one or more problems with binocular vision and therefore could have difficulty seeing 3D," shares COVD President, Dr. Carol Scott, optometrist from Springfield, MO, "and about five to seven percent of children have amblyopia (lazy eye) and cannot see 3D at all."

In order for someone to experience 3D effects their eyes need to work together properly. If the commercial does not look 3D through the special glasses or if the commercial appears 3D but the viewer experiences eyestrain or headaches, a vision problem might be present.

"The importance of seeing 3D extends beyond watching special effects on TV," Dr. Scott says. "Any activity requiring depth perception or eye-hand coordination such as catching a football like superstar wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, making that 3 pointer in a basketball game, driving, riding a bike or even pouring milk on cereal can be affected if you have problems seeing 3D."

There are a variety of vision problems that can cause difficulty with 3D vision. If you have amblyopia ("lazy eye") or strabismus ("crossed eye") it is almost impossible to see 3D. Children with convergence insufficiency, a condition that inhibits one's ability to keep both eyes aimed correctly on a close target, may also have trouble.

While many people have given up on ever seeing 3D, neuroscientists continue to demonstrate the brain's plasticity confirming that one can attain stereo vision even as adults. In fact, thanks to optometric vision therapy, adults and children who won't be able to see the special 3D effects in this 'Monstrous' commercial may be able to obtain that vision skill.

Sue Barry, PhD, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at Mount Holyoke College, is perhaps the most famous patient who was able to gain stereo vision as an adult. Dr. Barry was featured in an article in The New Yorker by neurologist, Oliver Sacks, MD in June, 2006. As a result of a an eye turn (strabismus) and a lazy eye, also known as amblyopia, Dr. Barry lost stereo vision as a child when her brain "turned off" the image it received from the lazy eye. Despite multiple surgeries to correct the eye turn, she never achieved stereo vision. Stereo Sue, a title she gained from The New Yorker article, was a patient of Dr. Theresa Ruggiero, a Fellow of COVD. Dr. Barry was able to gain stereo vision after a year of vision therapy as an adult. Dr. Barry said that gaining stereo vision made her feel more a part of the world, "an incredible sense of being immersed in the space around you, as opposed to looking in on it from a slight distance away."

For more information on stereo vision, learning-related vision problems and vision therapy please see http://www.covd.org.

About COVD and our member doctors

The College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD) is an international, non-profit optometric membership organization that provides education, evaluation and board certification programs in functional, behavioral and developmental vision care, optometric vision therapy and vision rehabilitation. The organization is comprised of doctors of optometry, vision therapists and other vision specialists. For more information on learning- related vision problems, vision therapy, COVD and our open access journal, Optometry & Vision Development, please visit http://www.covd.org.

Developmental optometrists are eye care practitioners who specialize in visual development, the prevention of vision problems, enhancement of visual skills, the rehabilitation of various functional vision problems and provide optometric vision therapy for children and adults. Optometric vision therapy is a program of prescribed procedures to change and improve visual performance, which in turn helps our eyes and brain work together more effectively for reading and other learning tasks as well as seeing 3D.

     For more information, please contact:

     Ms. Pamela Happ, CAE, Executive Director
     College of Optometrists in Vision Development
     215 West Garfield Road, Suite 210
     Aurora, OH  44202
     P 330-995-0718 | 888-268-3770
     F 330-995-0719
     Email phapp@covd.org

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SOURCE College of Optometrists in Vision Development
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