3D Movies have sparked a rabid debate polarizing film fans from drooling for more, to aggressively spewing bile at it. What makes the debate even more interesting is that both sides tend to have very valid points.
But this is something I don’t think either side would have predicted. A man with a visual impairment inadvertently found himself “cured” of the condition after a 3D movie rebooted his brain to see differently.
67 Year old Bruce Bridgeman from Santa Cruz, California suffers from a visual condition called stereoblindness – the process in which the brain translates depth based on the combined images received by two eyes (or in stereo.) To Bruce, the details around him simply blended into their backgrounds. He learned to deal with seeing the world in 2D patterns as he has never experienced it any other way.
But after viewing Martin Scorsese’s 3D film Hugo this past February, his brain appears to have reprogrammed itself and he was suddenly experiencing the world in staggering 3D!
At first he thought his premium 3D ticket was a waste of money considering his condition, but shortly into the opening credits he was stunned by how vivid and detailed the floating text and backgrounds appeared. But while he might have thought this was some side affect of his condition and the 3D glasses, the 3D experience didn’t stop when the movie ended.
Bruce now sees in full depth of three dimensions and is able to see as anyone without the condition would. Imagine after 67 years of understanding the world through stereoblind eyes, and to suddenly be able to process depth and see details he previously could not? I don’t know if I could describe the emotion he must have been feeling, but it was probably pretty overwhelming.
Visual therapy is one way that doctors deal with steroblindness, and in some cases the condition can be limited or compensated by re-training the brain to process what it is seeing. Speculation says that after the initial 3D trick the cinema glasses played on his brain, the sensation stuck with him for the duration of the film. While uncommon, the relatively brief therapy session was a breakthrough for Bruce.
I bet he does not regret his choice to see a 3D film that night!