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Nintendo 3DS may help optometrists identify vision problems

There's been a fair amount of concern and interest about whether or not the Nintendo 3DS is bad for your vision. Several news reports have surfaced claiming it could be damaging to the eyes, and Nintendo affixed a warning message that makes the Virtual Boy sound like a more pleasant experience. But now the American Optometric Association is speaking out and denying claims the 3DS poses a danger to young children.

In fact, some doctors are even saying it could be a good thing. Exposing those with developing eyes to the new handheld could help them figure out whether or not they have innate vision problems.

"The 3DS could be a godsend for identifying kids under 6 who need vision therapy," said the American Optometric Association's associate director Michael Duenas in an Associated Press report.

The association's president Joe Ellis echoed those comments, saying, "This has presented my profession, optometry, a wonderful opportunity."

As Duenas noted, if a kid starts tearing through a 3DS title and realizes he can't see any 3D effects, it could be a sign he has a problem with his eyes. That's something that might not otherwise be diagnosed until later in life.

So, optometrists think the device is a great thing, but what about all those earlier reports about the 3DS posing a health risk? Those claims have largely come from opthamologists, those who actually focus on treating medical conditions of the eye.

Pediatric opthamologist David Hunter told the AP he found the optometrists' assertions "a little perplexing," because if children have a problem with 3D content they'll have a problem with any kind of depth perception. So they'll hardly even notice anything different with the 3DS.It seems thatthere are strong opinions on both sides of the issue.

[Source:Seattle PI]

Mar 18, 2011

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