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Advances In 3-D May Mean No Ridiculous Glasses

LINDA WERTHEIMER, host:

3D is showing up everywhere, from the cineplex to your living room. There's just one problem. Most of the technology still relies on those cumbersome 3D glasses. But as Jen Sands-Windsor reports, that problem may soon be a thing of the past.

(Soundbite of movie, "Avatar")

Mr. STEPHEN LANG (Actor): (as Colonel Miles Quaritch): You're not in Kansas anymore. You're on Pandora.

LAURA KRANTZ (as "Jen Sands-Windsor"): This is "Avatar," the most financially successful movie of all time. It launched the 3D craze.

COREY DADE (as "Anderson Smith"): Well, I think it's pretty well established that 3D is the future.

"SANDS-WINDSOR": That's Anderson Smith, entertainment expert with YHR Analysts.

"Mr. SMITH": There are going to be 3D televisions, 3D billboards, 3D computers. The only thing standing in the way now is those ridiculous glasses.

"SANDS-WINDSOR": San Diego ophthalmologist Dr. Sebastian Marsh says he has a solution.

KEVIN BEESLEY (as "Dr. Sebastian Marsh"): We've developed the first surgical procedure that lets people's eyes act like 3D glasses.

"SANDS-WINDSOR": The operation is still considered experimental. One of the first patients, Rebecca Stern, says she's happy with the results so far.

RENITA JABLONSKI (as "Rebecca Stern"): Seeing "Gnomeo & Juliet" without those horrible glasses was life-changing. There are no words to describe it.

"SANDS-WINDSOR": There are still some kinks to work out.

"Dr. MARSH": Some patients have complained of blurred vision when they are not looking at 3D screens. So we're actually working now on some special corrective lenses that will allow our patients to see real life normally.

"SANDS-WINDSOR": Stern says it's worth it for the convenience. She won't need to wear glasses in her living room when her 3D TV arrives.

For NPR News, I'm Jen Sands-Windsor in San Diego.

WERTHEIMER: Dr. Marsh and his team hope for a wider release of the procedure in select cities starting April 1st, 2012. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.