3D cinema for the optically challenged

Wearing two pairs of glasses at the same time can be tricky. So, if you need glasses for everyday seeing-activities and want to catch a 3D movie, you have to adapt to the challenge.

Cartoon of a girl with glasses on, holding 3D glasses in her hand.

Here are three methods I’ve road-tested, with varying degrees of success:

Option 1
Wear your own corrective lenses, but not the 3D glasses provided by the cinema.

If you choose to do this, your movie experience will look something like this:

Blurry still from Avatar.

Option 2
Wear the 3D glasses, but not your own corrective lenses.

If you choose this option, your cinema experience may look something like this*:

Even blurrier still from Avatar.

(*Results will vary with this technique, depending on how bad your eyesight actually is.)

Option 3
Jam both pairs of glasses onto your nose at once and try to keep them there.

If you go with this option, your cinema experience will unfold something like this:

1. Attempt to slide the 3D glasses on over your regular eyewear as soon as the prompt comes on screen. Get the arms of the two pairs of glasses tangled together. Struggle vigorously to untangle them. Now they are also tangled in your hair, and the person beside you is shushing you for making so much noise.

Cartoon of a girl looking distressed with two pairs of glasses in her hair and her arms tangled up trying to take them out.

2. Remove both pairs of glasses. Smooth down your hair. Try again, slowly – your glasses first, then the 3D glasses. Stay calm.

Cartoon of a girl neatly placing 3D glasses over her specs.

That’s it. You got there.

3. Now tip your head way back so the glasses don’t slide straight down your nose. They will still slide down, but at a significantly reduced rate. Remain in the head-tipped-back position and push the glasses up your nose repeatedly throughout the movie.
Cartoon of a girl in a cinema chair, with her head tipped back, pushing her glasses up her nose.
While you’re in the head-tipped-back position, the guy behind you may accidentally pin your hair to the back of the seat with his foot. If you’re an assertive kind of person, you’ll want to confront him about that. It’s up to you. Just remember it will yank your hair when you turn round to talk to him. And your glasses will probably fall off.

Note: the head-tipped-back position is NOT an ideal one for eating in. Try not to choke on your popcorn.

Cartoon of a girl in a cinema coughing up a piece of popcorn.


Since around 70 per cent of Australians, Americans and United Kingdomians wear glasses, this situation seems like a missed opportunity for the cinema industry. Even ruling out the people who only wear glasses for reading / working on the computer / looking cleverer, there must still be millions and millions of compulsory, all-the-time glasses wearers having rotten 3D experiences.

“Why not wear contacts?” I hear you say. Well, smarty pants, not everyone can.

If you have a history of infections, allergies, are diabetic, under the age of nine or have funny-shaped eyeballs, you’ve got no chance of wearing contacts. Besides, 3D movies are already fairly pricey without the extra sting of buying new eyeball accoutrements.

So maybe this is an entrepreneurial opportunity? If the glasses dilemma were solved, surely falling 3D ticket sales would improve!

I’ve even made a couple of designs they could prototype and test. (Both are arms-free to avoid the entanglement predicament.)

1. 3D glasses with elastic-strap for staying-puttedness, and a layer of foam padding on the back of the frame to buffer contact with your actual glasses.
Labelled diagram of a pair of 3D glasses strapped over a pair of regular glasses.They’re a bit like minion goggles, only uglier. But on the bright side, they’re well-suited to wearing over glasses without dislocating your eyeballs. Unlike minion goggles.
Cartoon of a girl with her eyes crossed and glasses smashed, with minion goggles strapped over the top.

2. Clip-on 3D lenses. This one’s pretty self-explanatory.
Labelled diagram of a pair of glasses with 3D lenses clipped on and flipped up.Sure, you’ll feel like a tool in them. But who’s gonna see you in the dark?

And they could significantly reduce the number of popcorn-related choking fatalities at your local cinema.

9 thoughts on “3D cinema for the optically challenged

  1. These designs are genius. Why haven’t you patented these yet? You’re missing out on the big bucks.

    Whereas I’m not part of the collective eyeglass wearing community, I have sat by friends and strangers who have attempted such a feat in a movie theater. It doesn’t look easy. However, it is entertaining. I sometimes watch them battle it out with their two pairs of frames more than I watch the movie. It’s a pretty bad habit since I’m the one paying for the movie. When they settle, I like to give them a congratulatory pat on the shoulder, just to add to the awkwardness.

  2. I love the idea of clip-on 3D glasses. Wearing the 3D glasses over my regular glasses is one of the major annoyances of going to see 3D movies. You’d think with the ridiculous price increase for the ticket, they could afford to provide some alternatives for the visually challenged among us.

  3. Agree with Keith – get down to the patent office pronto! I have contact lenses, but don’t see as well with them as with glasses, so I do the double frames shuffle. Deeply unsatisfactory. I’ll be the first in the queue for your new product!

Comment on this post

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s