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Nintendo 3DS "Godsend" For Youngster Says Optometrist

The Nintendo 3DS console could help optometrists identify children under the age of six who are in need of vision therapy according to a surprising analysis delivered by none other than the associate director for health sciences and policy for the American Optometric Association.

Dr. Michael Duenas (via the Portland Press Herald (opens in new tab)) qualified the Nintendo 3DS, which goes on sale in the UK on Friday 25th, as a godsend. He explains that a child who doesn't see the 3D effect on a 3DS may exhibit a vision disorder such as amblyopia or "lazy eye".

Given that less than one in six preschool kids have a comprehensive eye examination, this could lead to an improvement in the rate of young patients being treated and diagnosed for vision problems; an early treatment, says the AMA, better done when caught at an early age when the brain's visual system is still developing.

However, another ophtalmologist, Dr. Davi Hunter, was sceptical about the idea of 3D games or movies being useful to identify vision problems amongst young children.

That said, Dr. Hunter, has vested interests because he is working on a device for identifying childhood vision screenings, the kind of venture that would be made redundant if the 3DS can indeed detect vision issues in young users.

Earlier this year, Nintendo said that the 3D console was not dangerous although it wanted about allowing younger children to play on it for too long and suggests parents to limit 3DS usage for children under the age of six.

The Nintendo 3DS can be purchased from Asda for as little as £182 with free delivery and a free accessory package.

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.