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.
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."

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