Nintendo Issues Health Warning for Children Playing 3D Games

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Nintendo will launch a new portable 3D video game player in 2011 but warns that it may not be suitable for children under the age of 6. The Japanese company warns that the use of such a device in 3D mode could potentially impact the development of children’s eyes.

The company states that experts have found that the delivery of different artificial images to the left and right eye, as what occurs in all 3D images, whether from television, movies or games, can affect the neural processing that is still in development in the eyes of young children.

Read: 3D Movies May Cause or Reveal Vision Issues

3D images are particularly of concern in children with amblyopia, or “lazy eye”. Dr. Michael Ehrenhaus, an ophthalmologist in New York, tells Fox News “amblyopia and the additional eye strain of 3D may not be a safe combination.”

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Other negative health effects that can occur include altered vision, eye or muscle twitches, involuntary movements, loss of awareness and disorientation. About one player in 4,000 may suffer seizures or blackouts.

Read: Physical Activity Cannot Compensate for Excessive Screen Time

The Nintendo 3DS will be released in Japan in February of next year with launches planned for the US in March. The device will sell for about $300.

The technology of the system allows the gamer to play without the use of special glasses. It will still feature the trademark DS dual screens with the upper screen providing 3D images and the other controlled by touch with a stylus.

Games can be played in both 2D and 3D, and the device will have a parental control feature so that parents can restrict young children to only 2D games. Nintendo also recommends that all users take breaks every 30 minutes when playing 3D to prevent eyestrain and headaches from prolonged use.

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