Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Viu en 3-D! is here, the First Collective Vision Test in Cinemas

Worldwide premiere will arrive at screens: the first test of binocular vision in cinemas. The initiative stars Victor, the first three-dimensional optician/optometrist in history, which forms part of Viu en 3-D!,

Promoted by the Optician and Optometrist Association of Catalonia (COOOC), TV3 Televisió de Catalunya and the Association of Cinema Companies of Catalonia, with the approval of the School of Optometry of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia.

The aim of this simple, two-minute test is to detect defects in binocular vision, a problem that affects 900,000 people in Catalonia and more than five million in Spain, making it difficult to see 3-D effects and even not being able appreciate them at all. The campaign will continue until January 2012, reaching more than 400,000 viewers and with the help of over 800 optometrists and 85 cinemas.

One of the key messages of Viu en 3-D! is that 3-D screens (cinema, television, video games ...) that are well implemented are not harmful to vision. It can also be an excellent method of training since it encourages the use of both eyes working together, that is to say, binocular vision. "In most cases, difficulty in perceiving 3-D effects cannot be attributed to technology in the screening systems, but to the presence of an alteration in binocular vision of the viewer” explains Alfons Bielsa, president of the COOOC.

"As professionals that are responsible for ensuring eye health, we wanted to launch a campaign to inform and raise awareness about the importance of good binocular vision. Not only to see and enjoy films in 3-D, but because we live in a three-dimensional world. Thus, having an effective binocular vision will result in our relationship with the environment being improved. Without a doubt, a simple screening test in a place as crowded as the cinema is a very effective way of offering a fast, easy to learn, and universal option for discovering the quality of our binocular vision. "

The Viu en 3-D! visual test is a simple self-diagnostic test of basic binocular vision that will be screened in 3-D theatres in 85 cinemas throughout Catalonia just before the film. It lasts two minutes and consists of three types of tests. This test has been produced entirely by TV3 Televisió de Catalunya and is supported by the School of Optics and Optometry of Terrassa.

Victor is the person in charge of telling the viewers what steps to follow to successfully perform this test, the first three-dimensional optometrist in the world.

"He is a character we created specifically for this campaign. He represents the victory sign for binocular vision, since we gain in quality of vision by combining and coordinating the vision of both eyes”, explains Lluís Bielsa, vice-president of the COOOC. "He also has his own website, directed to the general public where various aspects of binocular vision are reported, including the test that is screened in the cinema."

The entire production of the test was carried out by TV3, due to its pioneering experience in the country in the production and emission of 3D content and its commitment to public service, both visual and in the participation of different research and professional sectors. According to Eloi Molinas, the head of Production and Graphics in Real Time for TV3, Televisió de Catalunya,"this project is an example of giving back to a society that invests in their public television and that comes not only in the form and content of information, but a public service with a transversal standard. The Production and Graphics in Real Time team of the Department of Photography and Artistic Services at TV3, led by Paulí Subirà, have led this project, which once again places TV3 at the forefront of audiovisual innovation at an international level ".

Camilo Tarrazón, the president of the Association of Cinema Companies of Catalonia, gave a positive assessment of this initiative where "cinemas add value to their audience, apart from its normal recreational function. By means of the pioneering 3D format, more than 400,000 viewers will be able to use our facilities to see if they suffer some kind of binocular vision dysfunction and correct it and they will know that it is not due to the 3D system but the viewer's own visual problems " .

The Dean of the School of Optometry of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, Ester Guaus, noted that the test will be an unprecedented study of eye health among the Catalan population, but that it will "also highlight and help to better spread the role of the optometrist as a health professional who takes care of eye health, which is sometimes little-known socially. We are aware of the role of the optometrist that does refraction tests, mounts and sells glasses or customises contact lenses, but who is often unknown as someone that examines the state of eye health and is able to detect considerable defects."

In addition, viewers will also receive an information leaflet on binocular vision, why we see in 3D, warning signs of possible vision problems, vision tips, etc.... In total, over one million leaflets will be distributed in cinemas and in the optometrists that are participating in the campaign promoted by the COOOC.

More than 800 optometrists have been added to the campaign

Parallel to the showing of the test on 3D screens in movie theatres, the Viu en 3-D! campaign will also be available in more than 800 optometrists throughout Catalonia, where those viewers who have not passed the tests, detecting anomalies in their binocular vision, may carry out a complete examination by a professional optometrist.

The optometrists that are taking part in this initiative are identified by a distinctive sticker with the image of Viu en 3-D! on their window.

The next phase of this campaign plans on involving schools as well with a series of lectures aimed at students of the first grade of secondary education. These lectures are given by optometrists and opticians, who explain how the visual system functions and provide tips for good binocular vision, as well as provide vision tests in 3D among the students.

12% of the population is unable to appreciate the 3-D effect

Dizziness, headaches, fatigue or double vision are a few disorders that can occur when watching a movie in 3D. Moreover, in everyday life, other signs can present themselves such as difficulty in calculating distances, fatigue when setting sight to read, lack of reading comprehension and even low school performance. "In fact, it is one of the leading causes of school failure and low work performance" says Alfons Bielsa, president of the COOOC.

In total it is estimated that nearly 12% of the population, which is equivalent to over five million Spaniards, is unable to perceive 3D images.

According to Alfons Bielsa, the "American Optometry Association estimates that 56% of people between 18 and 38 years of age could have problems with their binocular vision. A slight dizziness at the beginning of seeing a film in 3D is normal, but if it persists it is likely a sign that there is a visual disorder."

It takes just a small gap in the coordination between the two eyes or "a visual acuity difference between one eye and the other, due to a graduation in outdated glasses for example, for the vision of a 3-D film not to be optimal."

What are the main signs of suspicion?

Those who do not see 3D effects are precisely those who suffer alterations in binocular vision that is hardly evident. "If it is logical that a person with vision in just one eye ca not see 3D effects, we can also logically assume that a person with good visual acuity in both eyes can perceive it perfectly. But this is not necessarily so."

If we have problems, feelings of fatigue or find that the youngest ones have an expressionless face during spectacular 3D film effects, we can be sure that there is actually a binocular alteration. When this happens, the best thing to do is to visit an optician/optometrist to perform a complete analysis, not only to detect if there is myopia, hyperopia or astigmatism, but also to check binocular vision.

The problem is usually solved in most cases by updating graduation, with visual therapy and/or prismatic lenses accompanied by postural and ergonomic recommendations.

The Optician and Optometrist Association of Catalonia (COOOC)

The Optician and Optometrist Association of Catalonia (COOOC) is a non-profit organization that oversees the scientific and technical development of its members and the proper regulation of different ways and areas of professional practice. Incorporation in the COOOC is a prerequisite for being able to practice the profession of Optometry in Catalonia in any of its specialties. This body oversees professional ethics and dignity and ensures the qualifications of optometrists and optical activity in the interests of citizens, developing a continuous effort aimed at training all its members.

TV3, Televisió de Catalunya
TV3, Televisió de Catalunya is the company which manages the television channels of the Corporació Catalana de Mitjans Audiovisuals (Catalan Broadcasting Corporation). Founded in 1983, with the aim of contributing to the linguistic and cultural normalization of the country, today it is the main medium of communication in Catalonia and the television channel of reference for the vast majority of its citizens. Its model is part of national public television in Europe, and its programming is based on a commitment to social and democratic values, pluralism and public service. It is a pioneer throughout Europe in the production and broadcast of 3-D content and a benchmark in audiovisual innovation. TV3 currently has regular times for stereoscopic programming.

Association of Cinema Companies of Catalonia

The Association of Cinema Companies of Catalonia accounts for most of the private companies for movie screenings. In total it includes 565 screens (74 cinemas) of the total of 779 screens in Catalonia, which represents an 81% market share. The association is part of the Federation of Spanish Cinemas (FECE), which includes Catalonia as part of its territory.

School of Optics and Optometry

The School of Optics and Optometry of Terrassa is a centre of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia which has educated professionals in optics and optometry since 1977. Studies in optics and optometry are multidisciplinary since the professionals must have significant knowledge of optics, which is a part of physics, but applied to evaluating the visual health of the population and in doing so the optics must interact with other disciplines such as biology, pharmacology and ophthalmology.

The school has a team of professors and researchers that are experts in all these areas, four of whom have collaborated with the COOOC in developing the test which will allow the assessment of binocular vision of people in Catalonia that attend 3-D cinema screenings.

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