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3DS May Not Hurt Kids' Eyes After All

A few days ago Nintendo stated that children ages six and under should refrain from looking at the upcoming 3DS' screen in 3D mode because the tech could actually harm eye development. The comment was surprising given that the company is gearing up to heavily promote and eventually release the device in the coming months. What was even more surprising was that Nintendo would even develop a gaming platform that could pose that kind of threat.

Later Charlie Scibetta, the senior director for corporate communications for Nintendo of America, followed-up with a written explanation stating that "Nintendo's position is children six and under should not use the 3D feature of the Nintendo 3DS, and parents should use the Parental Controls feature to restrict access to the 3D mode."

Both warnings brought immediate skepticism from many of the world's elite pediatric ophthalmologists who claimed that the Nintendo warnings had very little basis in science. “The fact you’d watch 3D in a theater or a video game should have zero deleterious impact whatsoever,” said Dr. Lawrence Tychsen, a professor of pediatrics and ophthalmology at Washington University in St. Louis, in a report by the New York Times.

Dr. David Hunter, professor of ophthalmology at Harvard University and ophthalmologist-in-chief at Children’s Hospital Boston, added that there appeared to be "scant evidence" that 3D image technology-- which is appearing in theaters, HDTVs, Blu-ray players and even the PlayStation 3-- can hurt eye development. The only real possible side-effect from watching 3D movies or playing a 3D games would be fatigue from the brain trying to "process a ton of information."

David Granet, a pediatric ophthalmologist at the University of California, San Diego, and chairman-elect of the ophthalmology section of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said general screen time can come at a cost, pointing to a growing concern that a child's ability to focus and pay attention is being hampered by the heavy use of highly stimulating interactive technology.

"I don’t think that parents need to worry about kids playing video games, 3-D or otherwise, from a vision perspective," Granet said. "The bigger question for parents is: Do you really want your 3-year-old playing a video game?"

It's speculated that Nintendo publicly tossed out the 3DS comment to legally cover itself against lawsuits claiming that the handheld's 3D mode ruined a small child's eyes without warning.