Optometrists say 3DS may help kids' sight

Despite Nintendo warning that their new 3DS shouldn’t be used by children as it may cause issues with their eyesight, American optometrists are saying it may actually be a good idea to get your kids to try the 3D screen – particularly if they’re younger than six.

Rather than causing any vision problems, the specialists say that the handheld may actually help catch vision disorders that may not otherwise have been spotted. These disorders are easily treated – when caught early enough – and doctors feel the 3DS may be just the ticket.

Nintendo 3DS

Where's the five-year old face?

Dr Michael Duenas, associate director with the American Optometric Association explains:

“The 3DS could be a godsend for identifying kids under six who need vision therapy.”

He goes on to explain that if your child doesn’t see the 3D effect, he or she may have a vision disorder such as amblyopia (commonly known as “lazy eye”). There are other, more subtle problems that could also prevent the 3D vision from working properly – and these are also likely to impact on the child’s reading ability.

Doctors advice is to keep an eye on your youngster while they’re playing – if they report any dizziness or discomfort, take them to see a specialist.

The 3DS is currently available in Japan, and goes on sale in the US and Europe this weekend, with Australia following next Thursday. Like the DS, it features two screens for gameplay, but unlike the older models, the top screen will show “glasses-free” 3D images. It works by sending slightly different images to the left and right eyes to create the illusion of depth. Of course it’s not perfect, and many people experience eyestrain and headaches after watching 3D imagery for extended periods due to the unusual way the technology makes their eyes move.

It’s actually this muscle-strain that has inspired optometrists, who claim the effect is difficult to replicate with standard eye charts.

The visual system in the human brain is “more or less” developed by age six – so there are some benefits to letting your five year old play a bit of Pilotwings.

[img_big]center,4330,2010-11-20/3DS_Pilotwings_00ssHW_E3.png,Pilotwings Resort[/img_big]

…and it’s not just a matter of reading – studies show that more than half of all juvenile delinquents have undiagnosed and untreated vision problems.

Nintendo‘s original warning was vague and not backed up with any proof, leading Dr. Duenas to believe it may have been based more from a legal standpoint rather than a medical one – like warnings on coffee cups to let you know that your beverage is “extremely hot”. All things in moderation – it’s just common sense.


This story was featured in Episode 8, Season 2 of playerattack News:

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