Recently Nintendo issued a warning about their new 3-D handheld game device that urged parents to prevent children under age 6 years from prolonged viewing of the device's digital images, in order to avoid possible damage to visual development. Other 3-D device companies have issued similar warnings with their new products.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology (Academy) provides the following information and recommendations regarding use of 3-D digital products by children and adults. The Academy's statement is based on accepted medical knowledge and currently available research regarding visual development and function in children and adults.
At this time there are no conclusive studies on the short- and/or long-term effects of 3-D digital products on eye and visual development, health, or function in children, nor are there persuasive, conclusive theories on how 3-D digital products could cause damage in children with healthy eyes. The development of normal 3-D vision in children is stimulated as they use their eyes in day-to-day social and natural environments, and this development is largely complete by age three years.
Children who have eye conditions such as amblyopia (an imbalance in visual strength between the two eyes), strabismus (misaligned eyes), or other conditions that persistently inhibit focusing, depth perception or normal 3-D vision, would have difficulty seeing digital 3-D images. That does not mean that vision disorders can be caused by 3-D digital products. However, children (or adults) who have these vision disorders may be more likely to experience headaches and/or eye fatigue when viewing 3-D digital images.
If a healthy child consistently develops headaches or tired eyes or cannot clearly see the images when using 3-D digital products, this may indicate a vision or eye disorder. If such problems occur, the Academy recommends that the child be given a comprehensive exam by an ophthalmologist.
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