Don’t miss this public health report, 3-D in the Classroom.  3-D imagery is becoming more commonplace, especially in classrooms.  These new 3-D displays are quickly becoming an exciting new tool for teachers and learners across the learning spectrum–from kindergarten through graduate school.  Think about the possibilities……. Geometry, architecture, anatomy, engineering, sculpture, biology, geology.  Pick one of these subjects and imagine what you might do if you could use 3-D images in your lesson plan.  The possibilities are limitless!  Now move beyond the classroom, because 3-D vision, or stereopsis, is becoming a requirement for many careers and vocations.  Teaching with 3-D technology will be a requirement in order to prepare students to practice with that technology.

And now, imagine a child who cannot perceive 3-D images because of a vision problem.  These children will be at a distinct disadvantage, not only in the classroom, but in life!

The good news is that help is available.  Dr. Dori Carlson, the president of the American Optometric Association, points out that “for the estimated 1 in 4 children that have underlying issues with overall vision, 3-D viewing can unmask previously undiagnosed deficiencies and help identify and even treat these problems….If deficiencies are identified the student can be directed to care consisting of a comprehensive eye exam and treatment with glasses and/or individualized rehabilitative vision therapy.  As an added benefit, this course of action may also assist the child in most all reading and learning tasks.  Overall these 3-D viewing potentials, tied to enhanced and protected vision, provide increased assurance that no child will be denied lifetime opportunities and an equal chance to succeed in school and later in life.”

The ability (or inability) to perceive 3-D images may provide a more sensitive assessment than a standard eye chart in the identification of children with vision disorders! What are some of these vision disorders that can reduce stereopsis and perception of 3-D images?

  • Refractive problems, such as myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness).
  • Strabismus, or an eye that turns in or out, all of the time or some of the time.
  • Amblyopia, or lazy eye, when one eye does not see or perform visual tasks as well as the other.
  • Binocular deficits, such as convergence insufficiency, can can cause significant discomfort and even double vision, in addition to poor 3-D viewing.
  • Accommodative deficits, or poor focusing skills can cause blur and discomfort during 3-D viewing.

The time is now, make sure your children have the visual skills they need to perform both inside and outside the classroom.  Take your kids to see a 3-D movie! If your child doesn’t seem to appreciate the 3-D effects, consider this a blessing in disguise….next stop is a comprehensive eye examination.