Optometrists Approve of the Nintendo 3DS

Posted Mar 21, 2011

According to manufacturer’s warnings, the 3-D screen on the Nintendo 3DS shouldn’t be used by children 6 or under. But optometrists say that it is a good idea for kids to try and use the 3-D screen. It won’t do any harm to them and it may help them catch vision disorders early on.

“The 3DS could be a godsend for identifying kids under 6 who need vision therapy,” stated Michael Duenas, the associate director for health sciences and policy for the American Optometric Association in an interview with USA Today.

The 3DS is available in Japan and will be for sale in the U.S. on March 27th for $250. It has two screens with the top screen showing 3-D images without the need for special glasses. A pair of cameras on the 3DS can be used to take 3-D pictures. If your kid cannot see the 3-D effect on the 3DS, then it is likely that he or she has a vision disorder such as amblyopia (“lazy eye”) or a smaller eye problem that can affect reading.

3D technology viewing systems sends different images to the left and right eyes, which creates an illusion of depth. Optometrists say that these systems can help isolate the problems that have to do with the ways that eyes move. These problems aren’t caught by optometrist eye charts. These problems are easier to fix before age 6 when the visual system in the brain is nearly finished developing.

According to the American Optometric Association, only 15% of preschool children get an eye exam to catch these sort of problems. “This has presented my profession, optometry, a wonderful opportunity,” stated American Optometric Association president Joe Ellis.