really weird vision problem -- should I be concerned?

Lately I’ve noticed that certain things on flat surfaces seem 3d – they either sink in, or pop out. As an example, the “straight dope” banner at the top of this page – The blue part sinks in, while the red part sticks out.

Is this a symptom of anything? I have to get around to getting my eyes checked anyway, but I’m wondering if I should do it sooner rather than ‘eventually’.

You aren’t wearing those blue-and-red 3d glasses, are you?

Different wavelengths of light don’t all focus the same way as each other - this is what makes a prism work when it splits the spectrum and it’s what causes chromatic aberration, this can cause visual weirdness when adjacent areas of highly-contrasting colour are viewed, and especially in low-light conditions where the pupil opens up and the eye becomes more of a lens camera than a pinhole one, but if you’ve only just started noticing this, of course you should obviously get your eyes checked.

Do you wear glasses? Try taking them off and see if it still happens. My glasses always make the blues and reds seperate when looking at the colors at different angles. The same goes for looking at different colors of light sources, the blue will always “bleed out” to the side.

To an extent, what you’re describing is normal. Beyond that, see a professional.

What type of screen are you viewing this on? Does it happen on all screens?

If my laptop screen is in the slightest tilted position, everything looks weird to me.

I assume it happens on all screens, because it happens in real life too.

It’s not just red and blue; dark images on a white background are most profound.

This has only been going on a few days.

Perhaps I’m the secret target of new 3D technology!

It’s probably nothing to do with your eyes. It’s most likely a brain tumour.

Go and see a doctor or eye specialist, as soon as possible. Sheesh.

Oh, and I do wear glasses in the sense that I need them, but only wear them when driving.

I need to get my eyes checked anyway, which I will be doing soon. I was just wondering if it was a particular symptom of anything specific.

I knew it!

This is completely normal-- cool colors recede, red colors project, and if you’re sensitive to things like that it’s normal.

Do you smell burning feathers, or have a ringing in your ears?

As for the OP, maybe it’s one of those things that have always happened, but you just recently started paying attention to and now it freaks you out. E.g., when I was a kid and discovered on my own that I had “floating ribs”.

The same thing happened to me and really freaked me out – I wondered if it was because the red pixels on my monitor were physically closer than the blue ones. But for me it goes away when I take off my (hugely powerful) prescription glasses. It’s really cool now, because blue and red stuff next to each other look significantly different, depth-wise.

Presumably the corneas/lenses in your eyes are just doing the same thing my glasses lenses do, which my own corneas are too stupid to do.

The brown acid. You were warned to stay away from the brown acid.

Does this help at all?

I get the same thing when I am tired. I will be reading a book, and notice that the print seems to be “floating” a few cm above the page.

Never thought much of it, just thought it meant… “wow… pretty tired, better quit reading and go to sleep…”


That’s called spherical aberration. Properly made lenses don’t do that.