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Title: Visual discomfort whilst viewing 3D stereoscopic stimuli
Author: Karpicka, Edyta
ISNI:       0000 0004 5919 1067
Awarding Body: Loughborough University
Current Institution: Loughborough University
Date of Award: 2015
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3D stereoscopic technology intensifies and heightens the viewer s experience by adding an extra dimension to the viewing of visual content. However, with expansion of this technology to the commercial market concerns have been expressed about the potential negative effects on the visual system, producing viewer discomfort. The visual stimulus provided by a 3D stereoscopic display differs from that of the real world, and so it is important to understand whether these differences may pose a health hazard. The aim of this thesis is to investigate the effect of 3D stereoscopic stimulation on visual discomfort. To that end, four experimental studies were conducted. In the first study two hypotheses were tested. The first hypothesis was that the viewing of 3D stereoscopic stimuli, which are located geometrically beyond the screen on which the images are displayed, would induce adaptation changes in the resting position of the eyes (exophoric heterophoria changes). The second hypothesis was that participants whose heterophoria changed as a consequence of adaptation during the viewing of the stereoscopic stimuli would experience less visual discomfort than those people whose heterophoria did not adapt. In the experiment an increase of visual discomfort change in the 3D condition in comparison with the 2D condition was found. Also, there were statistically significant changes in heterophoria under 3D conditions as compared with 2D conditions. However, there was appreciable variability in the magnitude of this adaptation among individuals, and no correlation between the amount of heterophoria change and visual discomfort change was observed. In the second experiment the two hypotheses tested were based on the vergence-accommodation mismatch theory, and the visual-vestibular mismatch theory. The vergence-accommodation mismatch theory predicts that a greater mismatch between the stimuli to accommodation and to vergence would produce greater symptoms in visual discomfort when viewing in 3D conditions than when viewing in 2D conditions. An increase of visual discomfort change in the 3D condition in comparison with the 2D condition was indeed found; however the magnitude of visual discomfort reported did not correlate with the mismatch present during the watching of 3D stereoscopic stimuli. The visual-vestibular mismatch theory predicts that viewing a stimulus stereoscopically will produce a greater sense of vection than viewing it in 2D. This will increase the conflict between the signals from the visual and vestibular systems, producing greater VIMS (Visually- Induced Motion Sickness) symptoms. Participants did indeed report an increase in motion sickness symptoms in the 3D condition. Furthermore, participants with closer seating positions reported more VIMS than participants sitting farther away whilst viewing 3D stimuli. This suggests that the amount of visual field stimulated during 3D presentation affects VIMS, and is an important factor in terms of viewing comfort. In the study more younger viewers (21 to 39 years old) than older viewers (40 years old and older) reported a greater change in visual discomfort during the 3D condition than the 2D condition. This suggests that the visual system s response to a stimulus, rather than the stimulus itself, is a reason for discomfort. No influence of gender on viewing comfort was found. In the next experiment participants fusion capability, as measured by their fusional reserves, was examined to determine whether this component has an impact on reported discomfort during the watching of movies in the 3D condition versus the 2D condition. It was hypothesised that participants with limited fusional range would experience more visual discomfort than participants with a wide fusion range. The hypothesis was confirmed but only in the case of convergent and not divergent eye movement. This observation illustrates that participants capability to convergence has a significant impact on visual comfort. The aim of the last experiment was to examine responses of the accommodation system to changes in 3D stimulus position and to determine whether discrepancies in these responses (i.e. accommodation overshoot, accommodation undershoot) could account for visual discomfort experienced during 3D stereoscopic viewing. It was found that accommodation discrepancy was larger for perceived forwards movement than for perceived backwards movement. The discrepancy was slightly higher in the group susceptible to visual discomfort than in the group not susceptible to visual discomfort, but this difference was not statistically significant. When considering the research findings as a whole it was apparent that not all participants experienced more discomfort whilst watching 3D stereoscopic stimuli than whilst watching 2D stimuli. More visual discomfort in the 3D condition than in the 2D condition was reported by 35% of the participants, whilst 24% of the participants reported more headaches and 17% of the participants reported more VIMS. The research indicates that multiple causative factors have an impact on reported symptoms. The analysis of the data suggests that discomfort experienced by people during 3D stereoscopic stimulation may reveal binocular vision problems. This observation suggests that 3D technology could be used as a screening method to diagnose un-treated binocular vision disorder. Additionally, this work shows that 3D stereoscopic technology can be easily adopted to binocular vision measurement. The conclusion of this thesis is that many people do not suffer adverse symptoms when viewing 3D stereoscopic displays, but that if adverse symptoms are present they can be caused either by the conflict in the stimulus, or by the heightened experience of self-motion which leads to Visually-Induced Motion Sickness (VIMS).
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Loughborough University
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: 3D ; Visual discomfort ; Heterophoria adaptation ; Vergence-accommodation mismatch ; Visual-vestibular mismatch ; Fusional vergence ; Accommodation discrepancy (overshoot, undershoot)