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PR campaign takes personal turn on 3-D binocular vision problems

November 20, 2013
Recognized during the recent annual meeting of the Illinois Optometric Association (IOA) for their leading roles in the “Offering the Finest Digital 3D Experience” program were, from left, Steve Butzon, O.D., president of Chicago’s West Suburban Optometric Society (WSOS), Classic Cinemas owner Willis Johnson, Ingryd H. Vargas-Lorenzana, O.D., and Floyd Mizener, O.D.

Recognized during the recent annual meeting of the Illinois Optometric Association (IOA) for their leading roles in the “Offering the Finest Digital 3D Experience” program were, from left, Steve Butzon, O.D., president of Chicago’s West Suburban Optometric Society (WSOS), Classic Cinemas owner Willis Johnson, Ingryd H. Vargas-Lorenzana, O.D., and Floyd Mizener, O.D.

After learning of efforts by the AOA and the 3D@Home Consortium to increase awareness of binocular vision problems in the home environment, Floyd Mizener, O.D., a retired Chicago optometrist, began looking for ways to increase awareness of 3-D vision problems among movie theatre audiences.

After consulting with the AOA for details of its program, he began contacting local cinema owners in his hometown.

Classic Cinemas owner Willis Johnson, though resistant to Dr. Mizener’s initial suggestion of on-screen disclaimers prior to 3-D movies, agreed to display posters about binocular vision problems in the lobbies of his upscale theatres.

He even invited Dr. Mizener to help him and Michelle Krueger, a respected Chicago graphic artist, design them.

During the meeting, the theatre owner was surprised to find the artist suffered from the very 3-D vision problems that would be described in the poster – and, as a result, had an outright disdain for 3-D movies.

“How do you like 3-D (movies)?” Dr. Mizener asked the designer, having already noticed tell-tale signs of binocularity problems.

“I hate it!” the designer responded, citing a litany of common vision complaints associated with 3-D films. She also related that she had never had an eye examination.

“It was not until then that [Johnson] really understood how common binocular vision problems are, how severe their effects can be, how often people – even those who rely on vision for their livelihood – go without the eye examinations necessary to detect those vision problems, and how this could effectively limit the audience for 3-D movies,” Dr. Mizener said.

The theatre owner would also learn how effective readily available treatment can be in remedying such problems.

Dr. Mizener quickly arranged an appointment for the designer with Chicago practitioner Michael L. Halkias, O.D., who diagnosed severe astigmatism, some hyperopia and poor binocularity (100 seconds of arc on the Titmus Writ scale). He prescribed new eyeglasses and initiated a program of vision therapy.

“A few weeks later, Krueger, for perhaps the first time in her life, was using her eyes together, if not perfectly. Her stereopsis had improved to 40 seconds of arc on the Titmus Writ scale,” Dr. Mizener reported. “Moreover, her binocular vision poster was not only displayed in theatres around west Chicago, but drawing notice throughout the 3-D industry.”

“It’s a binocular vision case with a Hollywood ending,” he concludes.

Johnson, a board member of the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO), is now proposing theatres around the nation adopt Offering the Finest Digital 3D Experience.

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