A warning about Nintendo’s upcoming 3D device

Nintendo 3DS, expected to hit stores in March, comes with a warning about possible harm to the eyes of kids under age 6

Nintendo 3DS, expected to hit stores in March, comes with a vision-related warning

Jessica Gottlieb is a prominent blogger known for sharing strong opinions on motherhood, social media, and other assorted and engaging topics. Her son happens to have strabismus and amblyopia. He visited regularly with a pediatric ophthalmologist from age four months until earlier this month. Now nine years old, his vision has come a long way. He continues to wear an eye patch for a couple hours each day.

I thought the Little Four Eyes community would be interested Jessica’s recent thoughts on a piece of tech news: Nintendo’s 3D Gaming Device Comes with a Warning for Children Under Six. The soon-to-be-released gadget will come with a warning about potential injury to the eyes of children under age six, whose vision is still developing. Jessica has a valid concern about the device and its warning. The reason her son still wears a patch is because, at age nine, his eyes are still growing and changing (per the renowned doctors charged with caring for his vision).  So why does Nintendo set the cut-off age at six when we know that eye development continues beyond then? What is the real risk?

This area of concern seems likely to grow as gaming systems evolve without much regard to their impact on young eyes. As if we didn’t have enough on our parental minds, ay? Extra caution certainly seems warranted, especially when it comes our children with visual issues such as strabismus and amblyopia. Thanks for the heads up, Jessica.

Parents/experts, what do you think? How much do you worry (or not) about the effects of video games and emerging forms of 3D entertainment, and screen time in general?

My daughter is only two and her screen time is generally limited to 30-60 minutes of TV (age-appropriate videos) a day, only while wearing her patch as it helps with compliance to our regimen, but I know this will get trickier as time goes on. What guidelines do you have in place for your child? How have viewing/gaming habits and limits changed or become harder as they’ve gotten older? What have optometrists, vision therapists, or ophthalmologists told you about the impact of TV, computers and video games on your child’s vision?

2 responses to “A warning about Nintendo’s upcoming 3D device

  1. Great post, thank you! Here’s a couple of other posts on the topic by Optometrists:

    From Dr. B at Bright Eyes: http://www.brighteyesnews.com/2010/12/31/a-warning-about-the-nintendo-3ds-and-childrens-vision/

    From Dr. L. Press at the Vision Help blog: http://visionhelp.wordpress.com/2011/01/02/nintendos-warning-about-3d-stereo-games-and-visual-development/

    Zoe’s next eye appt is Friday, I’ll ask about it there, too. From what I’ve read, one of the best things you can do for your child’s eyes is make sure they get plenty of sun. Unfortunately, being in MN, Zoe doesn’t get much sun in the winter.


  2. GREAT links! Shoot, we live in Seattle. Sun isn’t exactly plentiful for 75% of the year… well, now I will make more of an effort to get us out whenever the sun shows up! Thanks!


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