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Can watching "Avatar" make you feel sick?

Director James Cameron at the Switzerland opening of "Avatar".  (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
Director James Cameron at the Switzerland opening of "Avatar". (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

Photo credit (AP Photo/20th Century Fox)

It's the biggest movie of our generation.  Director James Cameron's epic, 3D adventure "Avatar" is the highest grossing film of all time and looks poised for Oscar glory.  The sci-fi thriller and love story about another world called Pandora has captured the imaginations of our country, and metro Detroit is no different.   In fact, Detroit News Film Critic Tom Long picked "Avatar" as the movie of the year

As Metro Detroit women head out to the theaters to see the movie that everyone is talking about, they may notice something different about how they feel while viewing this stunning film.  This movie is best when seen in the newest 3D technology and even takes it up another notch when seen on the giant IMAX screens.  This is not your father's 3D with the cardboard glasses and the red and blue lenses.  The latest in 3D viewing allows the viewer to feel like they're actually inside of the film. 

This may have a negative neurological effect on some viewers.  As reported by Brian Alexander of, a large group of viewers around the globe are reporting ill side effects such as nausea, dizziness, and headaches after seeing the film.  Viewers with disorders relating to the vestibular system seem to be especially effected by the special effects.  Vestibular disorders involve a disruption in the inner ear balance and can involve symptoms like vertigo, fatigue, anxiety, nausea, and dizziness.   35-40% of adults over the age of 40 suffer from vestibular disorders.

Some viewers have had to leave during the movie because they were feeling ill.  However, most viewers enjoyed the new 3D technology without incident.  To be safe, if you have an inner ear disorder or a history of vestibular problems, you may want to avoid the 3D version of "Avatar".  Vestibular Disorders Association (VEDA) addressed the issue on their website.  They also issued a press release with information and tips regarding these disorders and 3D movie viewing. 

If you don't have a history of a vestibular disorder, but still have the feeling of motion sickness or dizziness while watching 3D films, you can try sitting back farther from the movie screen.  "Avatar" is still available for viewing around the world and of course, right here in Metro Detroit.  As you head out to the theater, you can be sure that you are in for the ride of your life!  If the ride gets to be too much, you can take comfort in knowing you are not the only viewer to have felt that way.


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