- Israel hits symbols of Hamas rule; scores killed
- Mississippi abortion law can’t be enforced
- Teacher who survived Sandy Hook has book deal
- Jury awards Jesse Ventura $1.8M in case vs. ‘American Sniper’ author Chris Kyle
- Middle Eastern firm’s deal to manage U.S. cargo port raises security concerns
- Bob McDonnell’s defense: Lonely wife developed ‘crush’ on CEO
- Chinese hackers stole ‘huge quantities’ of sensitive data on Israel’s Iron Dome
- House Republicans unveil bill to speed deportations of border children
- Californians protest middle school for hiring white man to teach cultural studies
- Killer’s sentencing overturned because mother couldn’t find seat in courtroom
Optometrists: Nintendo 3DS could ID vision issues
Question of the Day
NEW YORK (AP) - U.S. eye specialists are welcoming the Nintendo 3DS game device, dismissing the manufacturer’s warnings that its 3-D screen shouldn’t be used by children 6 or younger because it may harm their immature vision.
On the contrary, the optometrists say, it’s a good idea to get your kids to try the 3-D screen, especially if they’re younger than 6. It won’t do any harm, they say, and it could help catch vision disorders that have to be caught early to be fixed.
The new handheld game device is already available in Japan and goes on sale in the U.S. on March 27 for $250. It has two screens like the DS machines it is designed to replace. The top screen can show 3-D images, without the need for special glasses, though only new games will be in 3-D. A pair of cameras on the 3DS can be used to take 3-D pictures.
If your kid doesn’t see the 3-D effect on the 3DS, that’s a sign that he or she may have a vision disorder such as amblyopia, or “lazy eye,” or subtler problems that can cause problems with reading, Duenas said. Kids who experience dizziness or discomfort should also be checked, he said.
Today’s 3-D viewing systems send different images to the right and left eyes, a technique that creates an illusion of depth. But a lot of the cues we use to perceive depth in our environment are missing. That confuses the eyes and accounts for the eyestrain and headaches many people experience watching 3-D movies. Because of that, optometrists say, these systems can help isolate problems that have to do with the way the eyes move, problems that aren’t caught by eye charts.
These problems are much easier to fix if caught before age 6, when the visual system in our brains is more or less done developing. Only 15 percent of preschool children get a comprehensive eye exam that could catch these subtle problems, according to the American Optometric Association, the professional group for optometrists. More than half of all juvenile delinquents have undiagnosed and untreated vision problems, according to studies.
Going to see a 3-D movie or trying a 3-D TV can also help screen for problems, but optometrists expect the 3DS to be in front of kids’ eyes more.
“This has presented my profession, optometry, a wonderful opportunity,” said Dr. Joe Ellis, the president of the optometrists' association.
However, optometrists aren’t quite seeing eye to eye on this issue with another group of eye specialists: the ophthalmologists, who are medical doctors. (Optometrists are doctors of optometry but not medical doctors.)
Dr. David Hunter, a pediatric ophthalmologist affiliated with the Children’s Hospital in Boston and the American Academy of Ophthalmology, said the idea that off-the-shelf 3-D games or movies could help screen for vision problems such as amblyopia is “a little perplexing.”
Kids with amblyopia don’t have much depth perception in real life, he said, so if they don’t see depth in a 3-D screen, they might not say anything because that wouldn’t be much different from what they see around them.
It’s not impossible that it could help, but it’s “all sort of exploration and speculation,” said Hunter, who has started a company that’s developing a device for childhood screening of vision disorders.
Nintendo’s warning, issued in December, was vaguely worded. It said specialists believe “there is a possibility that 3-D images which send different images to the left and right eye could affect the development of vision in small children.”
The Japanese company didn’t back the warning up with scientific evidence, so Duenas sees it as being motivated by liability concerns _ much like coffee mugs carry warnings that beverages could be hot _ rather than a true danger.
TWT Video Picks
- Boehner rules out impeachment: 'Scam started by Democrats'
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
- Tactical advantage: Russian military shows off impressive new gear
- Obama's brother wears Hamas scarf bearing anti-Israel slogans in photo
- McCLAUGHRY: Finish off the "Islamic State" quickly and cheaply
- Obama: 'Not a new Cold War,' but new Russia sanctions announced
- Smugglers, rainstorm combine to poke holes in border fence
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- Kerry's credibility questioned as fighting in Gaza rages
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world