So you are looking over your child’s Christmas list and it is full of video games and movies. The normal concern would be childhood obesity, but what about vision development? Nintendo DS, a handheld gaming system, upgraded to include 3D graphics without the need for 3D glasses. Most parents might not think anything of this, but if you delve a little deeper you might be surprised.
The makers of Nintendo posted a warning on their website saying the game may have, “a potential impact on the growth of children’s eyes.” For children under 6, “the neural processing that underlies eyesight is still developing and 3D systems could thwart development.” Additionally, makers are suggesting a play-limit of 30 minutes for adults and children alike.
So Nintendo says there are dangers, but doesn’t list them. What are they? 3D works because it sends slightly different images to each eye, altering your depth perception. Viewing too much 3D could have a permanent, adverse effect on your depth perception. A study done by Sega showed that people’s depth perceptions were affected up to an hour after watching a 15 minute short in 3D. People with compromised depth perception live with the constant motto “Objects are closer than they appear,” which could lead to some dangerous situations.
3D images can have some beneficial effects: if a child fails to see 3D images correctly, it might be a clue to future vision issues. If headaches, dizziness, or nausea develops when playing with these games, stop immediately. It is recommended that a child sees an optometrist as soon as these problems are recognized.