Doctors Say The 3DS Is Safe, Potentially Beneficial To Children

Nintendo warned that its new 3DS portable gaming system might have negative effects on young children's vision. Now the American Optometric Association steps forward to say that using 3D technology could have a positive effect on children's eyesight. How so?

Nintendo was covering its bases at E3 last year and again in December when it warned parents that children under six years of age should not use the 3D features of the Nintendo 3DS when it arrives later this year. The reasoning behind this was that children's eyesight is still developing at that stage, and prolonged use of vision tricking technology could cause abnormalities in that development.

The American Optometric Association still cautions moderation in 3D use, but in a statement issued today says that there is no evidence that suggests viewing 3D in moderation would have any sort of negative effect in children or adults.

In fact, the AOA says that using 3D technology like the 3DS could help uncover undiagnosed vision problems vision problems that a screening would miss under normal testing conditions.

A normal eye test checks to see how well each eye functions, but the key to good vision is in how both eyes function together. Subtle problems between both eyes can lead to eye fatigue, losing place while reading or copying, and reduced reading comprehension, resulting in low grades and frustration at school.

Another symptom would be the inability to view 3D properly. If your child has trouble viewing the 3D on the Nintendo 3DS, it might be a sign of a visual problem that is best caught early on.

While Nintendo's heart was in the right place with its warnings, the American Optometric Association says that viewing 3D on the 3DS shouldn't be a problem for children whose visual system is developing normally, as long as the device is used in moderation.

Just keep an eye on your children, and if they start to experience what doctors call the three D's of 3D viewing - discomfort, dizziness, or lack of depth - bring them to an eye specialist and have them checked out.