Nintendo’s 3D Gaming Device Comes with a Warning for Children Under Six

According to the NY Daily News, Nintendo’s soon to be released 3d Gaming device comes with a warning that it could injure the eyes of children under 6.

Nintendo 3D

Last night I spent about half an hour with Alexander getting a dried out contact lens out of his eye. My son is incredibly lucky that with his vision problems we live a stone’s throw from UCLA and some of the most talented physicians on the planet.

My son is nine, and he still wears a patch every day. Why? Because his eyes are not done growing, because his synapses are not fully developed. I don’t know when Alexander will stop wearing an eye patch, but I know his eye sight is changing, and this means that the same is true of the development of your child of the same age.

I cannot give you any answers, advice or knowledge for children ten and up, but I can tell you with great authority that if your child is nine or younger they still have growth as it relates to their eyes and the muscules that surround them. I can also tell you that when I patch my son’s “good eye” and he’s not wearing contacts or glasses he tenses up, and fights back tears. He cannot see. Watching my boy struggle to make out shapes is incredibly painful. I would never do anything to jeopardize his vision (or any other child’s for that matter).

If Nintendo knows that their device can cause damage for your child who is five and half years old, I have no reason to believe it won’t do damage to my son’s eyes at nine. My son has seen a pediatric opthamologist from the time he was four months old until earlier this month. I know of no great milestones that occur at age six.

Related, I got these tips to help avoid digital eye strain from VSP. It’s sort of interesting watching my family watch TV (or any screen), now I notice how much they don’t blink.

Easy Tips to Avoid Digital Device Eye Strain

  • Blink Often: When looking at a computer or hand-held digital device, it’s common for you to blink two to three times less than you normally would. This can lead to “dry eye.” Blinking bathes your eyes in tears, and tears are naturally therapeutic for the eyes.
  • The 20/20/20 Rule: When spending long periods in front of a digital device, every 20 minutes, spend 20 seconds looking at something 20 feet away to allow your eyes to rest.
  • Ensure Proper Lighting: Poor lighting often causes eye strain. To help ease the strain on your eyes, keep bright lighting overhead to a minimum and position your desk lamp to shine on your desk, and not at you.
  • Use computer vision glasses. Even if you have near perfect vision, computer vision glasses can ease eye strain from prolonged use of a digital device. [I have no clue what computer vision glasses are, I’m pretty sure they sit on the end of a string and make you look like a librarian. Not a hot librarian, the kind with blue hair and cardigans that smell like mothballs]
  • Get your eyes checked An annual eye exam is a must!  Talk to your doctor about your digital usage and if you are experiencing symptoms that include headaches, backaches, dry eyes, etc.

5 thoughts on “Nintendo’s 3D Gaming Device Comes with a Warning for Children Under Six”

  1. I am so glad I read this post.We just bought our girls the DSi’s and ,honestly, I never even took into consideration the eye strain aspect. This is a reminder to keep a watchful eye on these devices and impose even stricter time limits.ANd the lights, my God, I need to make sure the house is amply lit. Thanks for bringing this to my attention!Seriously!

  2. What bothers me most is that I have a sinking feeling the “not recommended under 6 years” comes from the generalized idea that children’s eyes are fully developed around 7. My youngest also sees an opthamologist and wears a patch daily at 5 years of age. We were told that 7 years is merely a guideline and that each child develops at their own rate.
    So if this is the case and Nintendo is accepting a generalization a guideline, the vision of many children could be negatively impacted by a poorly designed warning.

    • Laura, we were told that Alexander should keep patching through his early teens, and then another doctor said that between 9 and 10 should do the job. Both physicians are from the Jules Stein Eye Institute, which is world renowned.

      You’re likely spot on when you say they are accepting a generalization as a guideline.

      To be absolutely clear, my hope is that I’m overreacting and that it’s all a benign, but my fear is that we’re really hurting our kids more than we know.


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