Are 3-D glasses clean or covered in bacteria?
Get ready to cough up more money to see your favorite 3D movie: Sony has already announced it won’t give out free 3D glasses anymore, starting next May.
That means you’ll have to pick up the tab, unless your theatre decides to treat you.
But until then, you may be handed glasses that have been worn by someone else. And while you might not think twice about it, microbiologist Peter Kmieck says handling glasses is one way of moving “bacteria from place to place.”
So we took two pairs a clerk handed over at a 3D movie to get tested at his Kappa Laboratories in Miami.
The “REAL D 3D” brand glasses came in a plastic bag, and Dr. Kmieck tested for bacteria.
The results were good news.
“There was no bacteria associated with them whatsoever,” said Dr. Kmieck.
In fact, most 3D glasses handed over at the box office don’t go directly to another movie-goer.
At Cobb Theatres, spokesman Guy Austin says they ship used glasses out of state.
“We don’t use them over and over,” he said. Rather, they’re melted down into new glasses, or something else made of plastic.
IMAX 3D is the exception. Those theatres use larger 3D glasses and wash them in a machine.
“It cleans, sanitizes, and sterilizes each pair of glasses,” explained Museum of Discovery and Science projectionist Armando Mena, pointing to a combination of soap and bleach in his Fort Lauderdale theatre.
But Dr. Kmieck suggests spot checking for smudges, or spots, generally any sign someone else may have used the glasses.
“If you see that something looks dirty, it probably is,” he said, suggesting in such a case that users ask for a clean pair.