Optometrists endorse 3D for kids

American Optometric Association says depth-of-field gaming not harmful to young eyes, can aid in early detection of problems.

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Nintendo has been warning parents of the possible adverse side effects of 3D gaming on young gamers from the time it unveiled the 3DS at the 2010 Electronic Entertainment Expo. However, according to the American Optometric Association, that warning may not only be unnecessary, but also counterproductive.

The 3DS won't harm kids' eyes, says the AOA. No word on whether it will rot their brains.

Today, the AOA, which represents family eye doctors, issued a statement saying that 3D in movies, TV, and even 3D on Nintendo's 3DS could be beneficial for children. At cause for its assertion is the idea that "3D viewing may actually help uncover subtle disorders that, left uncorrected, often result in learning difficulties."

Explaining the science behind its statement, the AOA said that the eyes work together and in conjunction with the brain to create a single, clear image under healthy conditions. However, subtle problems in vision are often aggravated by 3D viewing, and these issues will also crop up in areas, such as reading comprehension.

"Difficulties with appreciating 3D in movies, TV and Nintendo's 3DS, or discomfort when engaging in these activities may be an important sign of undetected vision disorders," the AOA said.

The organization went on to caution that 3D devices are no substitute for vision screenings and comprehensive eye exams at schools and pediatrician offices. However, it did definitely state that "children younger than 6 can use the 3DS in 3D mode if their visual system is developing normally."

Discussion

98 comments
lordqarlyn
lordqarlyn

@Bubbenman The 3DS works by projecting separate images to each eye. If you remember those old Crackerjack prizes where you shifted the item, and a different picture appeared. Well, the 3DS's 3D display works on a similar principle. But instead of shifting pictures, the screen displays 2 images at the same time, but only one is seen by each eye. Our brain, then, assumes its stereographic and is tricked into forming a single 3D image. And yes, this display, can, for items up close, have the illusion of things "popping out of the screen". I made a short video on my Fujifilm of walking up to a barrel of a tank. Virtually everyone thought the barrel was moving out of the screen, and some guys even tried to "grab" the barrel.

cf_Kage
cf_Kage

It makes sense to me. They would have to put warnings on it for the people that would be affected. They have to, to stop them from getting bad press/sued. The truth is, most people and kids also would be fine. Thats my opinion. I don't get any adverse effects from 3D viewing, and I've been viewing 3D for years, with red/blue, cross eye, parallel, etc. Its natural to the eyes mostly. It doesn't make your eyes do something they shouldn't.

Bob194
Bob194

I want to see a citation on this article. I had no idea studies were even being done on this and I would love to see a primary source

StJimmy15
StJimmy15

@BubbenMan you just described 3D... it gives the images depth. Obviously a rabbit isn't going to jump out of your television and slap you in the face with a bowl of brightly colored cereal, but it can at least appear to, and thats 3D.

Aravesque
Aravesque

Irony, one interview says 3-d is bad for children and this one says it is good for children...

BubbenMan
BubbenMan

@StJimmy15 I do not claim to be some kind of expert and I don't really have the energy to argue but as for of all I've been taught and stuff I've picked up. Stereoscopy can only work in a way which brings depth to an otherwise flat image. I'm not saying it's impossible to achieve what one might call 'real life 3D' but how it would be possible with stereoscopy I just can't see.

StJimmy15
StJimmy15

@BubbenMan Its all about perception, read my last post. ...having "OR SEEMING TO HAVE" the dimension of depth, as well as width and height.

BubbenMan
BubbenMan

@StJimmy15 Last time I cheeked reality wasn't displayed on a flat screen in front of us. That is explanation enough. 3D cinema can't display more then the deep between objects by displaying different images to each eye but the objects them selves will still be displayed as flat and that's that.

StJimmy15
StJimmy15

@BubbenMan Three Dimensional: having, or seeming to have, the dimension of depth as well as width and height. Umm, yeah, explain the fact that everything (aka, real life) is already 3D... Unless you have some new definition which breaks the 6th dimension which actually results in an unobtainable 3rd Dimension. -.-

xiixiix
xiixiix

BubbenMan: "And the way "3D" is today it can never be trully 3D. We only have two eyes" I only have 2 eyes and as I look around my room, everything is in 3d. What are you smoking?

BubbenMan
BubbenMan

Is it really 'that' surprising that it isn't good to force your eyes to focus on two separate points? -_- And the way "3D" is today it can never be trully 3D. We only have two eyes :P

pingp00p
pingp00p

Like it matters. It will still be an awesome game system either way!!!

pingp00p
pingp00p

how much was the Doctors Association paid by Nintendo to endorse the 3DS I wonder?

DanielL5583
DanielL5583

At long bleeding last! Doctors endorsing video games! Whatever next?

cayne_phoenix
cayne_phoenix

wow, didnt c this news coming! thought it would be entirely the opposite... how long before someone else comes with the 3DS being bad for the eyes?

Flint247
Flint247

Why would Nintendo pay AOA to say this when they posted the warnings themselves?

MagicLink95
MagicLink95

@Murj I see your point. I guess it depends on what the kid is like.

Murj
Murj

@MagicLink95 "You can turn off 3d. Why does everyone forget that?" Kids are tricky and resilient. After 3D, they'll probably find any other way of playing it boring. And if they turn it to 3D outside of the room when I'm not looking then they will.

MagicLink95
MagicLink95

@Murj If I think it's making their eyes worse, I'm not going to let them play it. And that will break my kid's heart. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- You can turn off 3d. Why does everyone forget that?

chronolzx
chronolzx

did somebody get paid to say this?

-Squirrel-
-Squirrel-

Of course Nintendo is being overly cautious about the new 3D tech. They are rationally preparing for future actions, and is what I fully expect to happen: 3DS released to immediate acclaim and success and sells tens of millions, one month later some crazy mom is saying the 3D blinded her 5 year old and wants the 3DS banned, multiple people try to sue Nintendo for eye damage.. etc. Despite the blatant and excessive warnings by Nintendo I'm still sure people will do what I stated above, but now at least Nintendo can say the bluntly warned people, even if there is no real risk.

Slagar
Slagar

Very interesting. I often wonder how good/bad these technologies are for our eyes and brains; but this 'endorsement' doesn't sound as though they evaluated the technology itself.

ScreamDream
ScreamDream

I just got done playing a 3DS test unit. What is this article about? I can't read it for some reason.

pphatmat
pphatmat

I cant wait when half the kids in the world wake up one day and realize that they are blind, Lol Jk

Eezyville
Eezyville

What a great way to sell 3D! Concerned parents are sure to buy 3D TVs now.

Tylendal
Tylendal

The only reason that Nintendo made the warning is to avoid lawsuits, they've been doing it since the NES days. The only reason people are noticing it now, is because 3D is something new. 3D can be damaging, but only if you have an already existing condition. The vast majority of people are unaffected by it.

Zophar87
Zophar87

All things aside, I cannot wait for this!

tehepicpwnzor
tehepicpwnzor

I get migraines when I watch 3D movies... I'm kind of surprised TBH.

drokmore
drokmore

Love it, gaming helps health.

Angel_Belial
Angel_Belial

Two months after the release, Nintendo recalls millions of 3DS handhelds due to them causing blindness. Little Johnny: "But mommy, why did I go blind? I was playing with my 3DS, not my Wii."

shaun_ofda_dead
shaun_ofda_dead

@NotTarts Yes I am soooo ignorant because I didn't buy the hype of one weak (and short) "study" funded by the people who's product is being represented and have the most to gain from it. @hatieshorrer Back in the early 20th century, smoking was not consider to be any major health risk (up until the 1950's I believe). Medical and scientific "research wasn't advanced enough to determine the negative effects of it (read-long term usage). I actually own a Schwinn (the bicycle manufacturer) ashtray, and when I inquired how asinine that was of a marketing tool, the gentleman at the bike shop proceeded to tell me that in the 70's, bikers (think Tour de France) used to smoke "occasionally" as advised to regulate blood flow. Tobacco companies had produced ads for years that suggest smoking is harmless. Your idea that tobacco companies never expressed this view via advertising is completely ridiculous. Maybe you are too young to know any of this or the Virtual Boy. You might as well have said drinking urine is no different then drinking water. Stop facebooking and do some research before you express such ideas.

MissObvious
MissObvious

This is a surprising announcement after the one Nintendo put out a while ago regarding the 3DS. Then again, this article doesn't make it sound like they've studied the effects of long-term use, but rather that they have found a positive aspect in that 3D could help make it more likely that people will recognize their pre-existing eye condtions.

EddyG0RD0
EddyG0RD0

We will know how much he got paid by Nintendo to say that when Nintendo is going to be sued by blind kid from 3DS.

Savvy30039
Savvy30039

So a consumer electronics company is actually more cautious about their hot new product's potential adverse effects on children, one of their strongest demographics, than the doctors are? It's like I'm in the twilight zone or something.

DS_fan_atic
DS_fan_atic

Excellent! Can't wait for this baby to launch THIS year ahhh

daabulls23
daabulls23

"...3D devices are no substitute for vision screenings and comprehensive eye exams at schools and pediatrician offices." Darn. I guess beating a Mario level doesn't qualify as good vision.

oneligas
oneligas

Majority of medical industry will never admit anything is harmful until decades of data proves other wise. Safety is a illusion, heck 3DS may have adverse effects no one could predict like i see 300 dollars one second and the next it's gone.

gbyd
gbyd

So wait, let me get this straight. Are the Doctors telling us that playing the new (old) technologically advanced games not only WONT hurt us, but make us smarter, healthier, and into some kind of super bei.... *runs out of house to game local retailer*

Terminal_Omega
Terminal_Omega

Awesome, I wanted to get a 3DS for my niece's birthday but she'll only be 6 and I was worried about the earlier reports. Now I'll definitely at least let her try mine out.

mrzero1982pt2
mrzero1982pt2

@punkpunker they are saying this exactly like you said. use it right. just an hour or 2 at a time, go out and play or something, but will that stop folks? doubt it. those parents who bought the 3ds for their kids will be the ones playing it when their kids are sleeping, for longer hours.

flammable_zeus
flammable_zeus

I've never had problems with viewing things in 3D. In fact the only time my eyes have gotten sore is looking at a 2D display. Of course that's caused by me staring at the screen for long periods of time, not the fact that it's displaying a 2D image.

punkpunker
punkpunker

yeah sure. play for 12hrs a day, you'll see..

gameking5000
gameking5000

'Watching TV or playing games for long periods of time is bad' I wonder if the AOA would endorse that.

hasancakir
hasancakir

Well, that's interesting. I watched 3d movies in theatres before and everytime I had a strange feeling in my eyes after wearing 3d glasses till the end of the movie. (by the way I have no eye problem at all) Sometimes it was aching or it was itchy. Even watching normal television for a long time has side effects (in every games manual it says we should rest our eyes once in every 15 minutes...well....who does that? :). I can't say how harmful 3D gaming is but definetely it has to have some negative effects on the eyes. That's for sure.

Docky2k6
Docky2k6

Certain 3D movies and games, after extensive viewing and/or playing have definitely strained my eyes. It's not a natural 3D we're seeing so it makes sense to me that in some cases it would cause discomfort. I'm just one of those unlucky cases :( haha still, If I can get past the occasional headache then some 3D game experiences will most surely be worth it. I'm looking at you, Snake Eater, eventual Mario titles and all the lovliness that will come to the PS3 in time :)