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AOA’s 3D partnerships highlight public health, awareness of need for eye care

March 25, 2011

Jim Sheedy, O.D., Ph.D., of the Vision Performance Institute of Pacific University addresses “The Visual System and Virtual 3D.”

The AOA’s campaign to ensure that a public health message is part of the hoopla over 3D has resulted in hundreds of stories in the media, and has helped the association build partnerships with people in the information technology, filmmaking and entertainment industries.

The campaign continues AOA’s 3D education effort from last spring, tied to the release of the 3D movie Avatar, which  broke all box office records.  The campaign included Dominick Maino, O.D., discussing binocular vision and stereopsis.

After Nintendo issued a warning to consumers that children under 6 should not use its about-to-be-released 3DS handheld gaming device, the AOA and members of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD) said, in essence, “not so fast.”

The AOA viewed the attention as a “teachable moment” about public health, according to Michael Duenas, O.D., associate director, Health Sciences and Policy.  Children under 6 who have trouble viewing 3D likely have an underlying condition, such as unequal uncorrected refractive error, convergence insufficiency, strabismus or amblyopia, which  are all treatable, especially if caught early.

A press release by the AOA highlighting the diagnostic advantages of 3D devices was picked up widely by the media.  Leaders in the 3D industry also took notice.

Most prominent is the 3D@Home Consortium, a group of more than 50 companies and organizations that are collaborating to ensure the quality of the viewing experience is as high as possible, from creating 3D content, to transmitting digital information, to rendering it on TVs and other devices, to the viewers’ experience watching.

Dr. Duenas was invited to lecture at the First 3D Human Factors Symposium last December in San Diego, CA and following his presentation the consortium and the AOA found multiple areas for cooperation, and decided a formal memorandum of understanding (MOU) would be beneficial.

Filmmaker Chris Haws (left) and Michael Duenas, O.D., associate director, Health Sciences and Policy for the AOA, discuss how AOA responded to a Nintendo warning about children viewing 3D devices at the Ophthalmic Council.

Potential projects covered by the MOU include: 1) enhanced public and professional communication; 2) development and design of 3-D/S3-D-based vision risk assessment tools; 3) development and design of applied therapies; 4) providing new integrated efforts for quality improvement and evaluation; and 5) improved public health and vision and eye health.

A symposium on 3D viewing at State University of New York (SUNY) State College of Optometry on March 15, included Dr. Duenas speaking on the Public Health Implications of Virtual 3D.

Jim Sheedy, O.D., Ph.D., of the Vision Performance Institute of Pacific University addressed “The Visual System and Virtual 3D.”

Chris Haws, a 3D videographer consultant and psychologist , covered “Creating Virtual 3D Content” and Phil Corriveau, of the Intel Corporation described “Responsibilities of the 3D Industry.” 

Two representatives of the 3D@Home Consortium, president Rick Dean and director Heidi Hoffman , covered the work of the group.

Two messages were most prominent during the symposium.

First, there is a population – estimated at 10 percent – who cannot view 3D.  This group represents an underserved population with undiagnosed and untreated vision disorders that could benefit from comprehensive eye examination by an optometrist.

The second message was that 3D vision is necessary for more than viewing entertainment; for scores of careers such as neurosurgery and seismology it has become an integral part of the job and is rapidly becoming common place in classrooms.The audience included media and representatives from the filmmaking and technical fields, many of whom had worked with people who couldn’t view in 3D.

The explanations by optometrists helped  clarify why there was a missing component, and  in at least one case, prompted a filmmaker to call past clients who had difficulty viewing 3D to urge them to get their eyes checked by an optometrist.

On the following day, 3D was on the agenda of the Vision Monday Global Summit. Filmmaker Haws and AOA Executive Director Barry Barresi, O.D., Ph.D., told several hundred people in the ophthalmic community about the growth in 3D projects and the role of 3D in today’s and tomorrow’s careers.

Dr. Barresi explained how the AOA was taking the lead in ensuring that the viewing public gets the most out of 3D content and how the growth of 3D means a new opportunity for public health disease prevention and the entire vision care community.

Members of the Ophthalmic Council, the leading companies in the industry, hear from Michael Duenas, O.D., associate director, Health Sciences and Policy for AOA and Chris Haws, a 3D videographer consultant, who covered “Creating Virtual 3D Content”

Representatives of the largest companies in that community, members of the Ophthalmic Council™, meeting in New York heard about the MOU and AOA’s ongoing initiatives to raise awareness of the need for regular vision exams. 

Discussion included how the AOA is linking 3D to public health and possible initiatives to help the public better understand the importance of eye care.

Drs. Duenas and Barresi, Chris Haws and Rick Dean of 3D@Home presented their perspectives and gave an overview of the AOA’s message. 

As a result of the week’s activities, there were more than 200 articles in the media about the importance of 3D vision and the AOA’s role. In addition, the AOA and 3D@Home jointly launched a Web site, www.3deyehealth.org/.

At International Vision Expo East, Marchon devoted a great deal of space and multiple monitors to the company's 3D viewing glasses.

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