Doctor: “3DS Makes Children Cross-Eyed!”

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A Japanese ophthalmologist warns of the possibility of severe damage to the eyes of young children should they use the 3DS.

The doctor’s warning:

3D images are bad for the eyes of infants. Nintendo says as much, and for children not to use it. The reason is that there is the possibility of damaging the eye’s balance and inducing squinting/strabismus.

[The author points to an article detailing Nintendo’s own vague health warnings about the 3DS]

They say it “may interfere with the development of the eye.”

I think most general readers will take that to mean something like this:

DS = games, games = short-sightedness, short-sightedness = glasses required

That is to say, just something like the existing warning on the DS, and perhaps easily avoidable through regular breaks.

However, for children up to the age of 6 the eye’s sense of depth and three-dimensionality is still developing, and 3D images may have a great deal of influence on that.

On top of that, there are some very severe cases arising from all this.

I mentioned before how viewing “3D” images can strain your eyes. That is because when you focus on a point, each eye’s direction converges on that point. Normally both end up balanced on that point.

However, when you view a “3D” image, that balance can be disturbed, causing eye strain.

[…]

There was a case like this: a 4-year-old boy developed chronic strabismus after watching a 3D movie, and the condition did not improve. Eventually he had to undergo surgery.

This may be a rare instence, but it is certainly safer not to let children under 6 use the 3DS at all, or to ensure the 3D setting is turned all the way off at all times.

Other experts have raised health doubts of varying severity about the 3DS, and Nintendo’s own health advisory explicitly warns against children under 6 using the 3DS for long periods (Sony also has similar disclaimers on its 3D products).

Many adult users (just how many is not really clear due to the limited availability of the device pre-release) have also complained of eye strain and other adverse effects from the 3DS.

Nintendo has evidently foreseen these complaints, resulting in the addition of the adjustable “3D strength” setting.

Whilst the 3DS has what looks to be a great line-up, reasonable hardware and a good gimmick, releasing a 3D device marketed in no small part to children may yet prove to be a colossal minefield – eye problems in children or random adults could easily turn into mass litigation and dismal PR however scrupulous Nintendo’s disclaimers, not least in the US…

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