The aim of this study was to investigate whether stereoscopy can play a meaningful role in dental education. The study used an anaglyph technique in which two images were presented separately to the left and right eyes (using red/cyan filters), which, combined in the brain, give enhanced depth perception. A positional judgment task was performed to assess whether the use of stereoscopy would enhance depth perception among dental students at Osaka University in Japan. Subsequently, the optimum angle was evaluated to obtain maximum ability to discriminate among complex anatomical structures. Finally, students completed a questionnaire on a range of matters concerning their experience with stereoscopic images including their views on using stereoscopy in their future careers. The results showed that the students who used stereoscopy were better able than students who did not to appreciate spatial relationships between structures when judging relative positions. The maximum ability to discriminate among complex anatomical structures was between 2 and 6 degrees. The students' overall experience with the technique was positive, and although most did not have a clear vision for stereoscopy in their own practice, they did recognize its merits for education. These results suggest that using stereoscopic images in dental education can be quite valuable as stereoscopy greatly helped these students' understanding of the spatial relationships in complex anatomical structures.
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