To be honest, I was frightened to call Dr. Knueppel. We regularly chat about vision problems, and today, I had one affecting me: I was wondering if my big screen TV was giving me eyestrain.
Why was the call so difficult? To be honest, I’ve become quite close to my big screen TV. We’ve spent many glorious hours together, sharing everything from the latest Packer victory to Sherlock Homes: Game of Shadows on Blu-ray (a fun flick). But there was one catch.
While I was watching my beloved big screen, my eyes would start watering. Not all the time, but quite often, tears would run down my cheeks, and it wasn’t from watching the precision of an Aaron Rodgers pass.
When I asked Dr. Knueppel what the issue could be, she naturally prefaced her answer by telling me it could be a myriad of issues, and that only a Functional Vision Test could determine the true problem. This I knew, but I asked her to give me a few hypothetical reasons.
Dr. Knueppel said the issue might have to do with my peripheral vision. Anyone watching a big screen needs to be able to process peripheral visual information. With the wider screen, there’s more area for your visual system to take in and you may not be able to handle the increased area.
In addition, peripheral visual cells respond to motion, so simultaneous motion occurring in different areas of peripheral vision can be difficult to process.
The reason why my eyes were tearing up during some shows and not others could be related to a variety of factors. Perhaps the lighting in the room wasn’t adequate. Or the program I was watching could have more things taking place on-screen and I was having difficulty tracking.
Movies today are more action-packed and frenetic than ever before. I can remember taking my kids to Pixar movies and falling asleep...not because the movie was boring, but because the visual stimulation was overwhelming.
The same issue may be affecting me with my big screen. Too much stimuli coming at me from too many different angles may be more than my system can take. Thus, the tearing eyes.
Ironically enough, the same visual factors that overwhelm some people are also the things that people enjoy about the advancement in technology. If you can handle it, it’s a fun ride.
Naturally, I intend to schedule an appointment and have some testing done to find the possible issue. This is yet another indicator that the cool new technologies of the modern world are impacting our visual systems in unanticipated ways.
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