New AOA Report Examines ‘3D in the Classroom’

By Andrew Karp: Group Editor, Lenses + Technology

The AOA’s new public health report for administrators and teachers examines the use of 3D technology
in the classroom.
The American Optometric Association (AOA), in partnership with the 3D@Home Consortium, has published a comprehensive report for administrators and teachers that describes and explains the optimal uses of 3D in the classroom, including how 3D approaches to learning can enhance teaching and improve assurance of student school readiness.

The first-of-its-kind report, “3D in the Classroom,” was developed in collaboration with educators, vision researchers and specialist advisors from across the 3D industry. Among its key findings is that children often learn faster and retain more information in the 3D environment, and their ability to perceive 3D and learn in 3D requires precise elements of “vision fitness.” 3D vision fitness skills associated with eye alignment, eye tracking, and balanced and corrected refractive errors are also associated with improved overall reading and learning abilities, according to the report.

“Good vision is important for everyone,” commented AOA president Dori Carlson, OD. “For a growing child, good vision and eye health plays a vital role in enabling the child to make the most of his or her innate abilities while learning to read, write and participate comfortably and confidently in the classroom environment. These exciting and bold opportunities in the 3D learning experience are nothing less than a game changer.”

Yet the AOA points out that as many as one in four U.S. students may be unable to partake in 3D learning activities due to under performance of various aspects of the vision system that have gone undetected and untreated. “The recent emergence of 3D presentation technologies and 3D content in movie theaters, in the home, in video games and now in the classroom, perhaps surprisingly, provides a unique public health opportunity,” explained Carlson.

“The ability to perceive depth in a 3D presentation—known as ‘stereopsis’—turns out to be a highly sensitive test of a range of vision health indicators. It is much more sensitive than the standard eye chart, because it requires that both eyes function in a coordinated manner, as they converge, focus and track the 3D image,” according to Carlson.

In addition to practical notes for teachers on the viewing of 3D in the classroom, the report also includes a detailed timeline of the history of 3D, fun facts about vision in nature, common causes of 3D viewing challenges, how 3D displays work, 3D’s impact on careers in the future, and a detailed appendix listing glossary of terms and references.

Optometrists interested in more information may download a copy of the report at