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Parents warned Nintendo's 3DS 'could harm children's sight'

by Sarah Griffiths on 21 January 2011, 09:40

Tags: Nintendo (TYO:7974)

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Eye boggling?

Optometrists have warned that focusing on a 3D screen for excessive periods of time could damage kids' eyesight and possibly lead to conditions such as lazy eye or a squint.

Nintendo's 3D glasses-free console due out is due to launch in the UK on 25 March, costing approximately £229, but now the Association of Optometrists has warned that the device could cost kids dear in the eyesight department as well as in pocket money, The Guardian reported.

The Association has reportedly advised that kids under 6 years of age should steer clear of the 3DS' ‘parallax barrier' screen, (which creates a 3D image from2 screens on top of each other) as "children need a clear, sharp image in each eye in order for their vision to develop properly."

Karen Sparrow reportedly said: "If anything upsets that balance, natural or artificial, it could affect the visual development resulting in 'amblyopia' (lazy eye) or a squint. This can be a problem when viewing 3D if you have a weaker eye. If a child spends excessive time using a device such as the 3DS, it could effectively act as a negative exercise, as opposed to strengthening the eye, and it can leave it underdeveloped, causing a 'lazy eye."

Interestingly Nintendo itself seems to have latched onto this problem and apparently has posted a notice on its Japanese website advising that kids under 6 should only use the 3Ds in its 2D mode.

Of course it is not just Nintendo that has the problem, as kids could risk ailments from 3D TV and cinema, while lots of adults have complained of 3D-related headaches too. However, Sparrow reportedly recons that fact that the 3DS is handheld could magnify the problem.

"The close proximity of the device could place more stress on eyesight than looking at a television set, meaning that eyes have to focus harder, and it is more likely to be used by children for longer periods," she apparently added.

For kids over 6 as well as adults, Nintendo reportedly suggests that gamers should take a 5 minute break every hour at least.

HEXUS Forums :: 1 Comment

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Is this the same as http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-12100925 or is it something new?

edit - it looks like Nintendo released a statement over the last few days saying that the reaction / comments have been overblown. I have a feeling it's been mixed up with this?