The dangers over 3D viewing and its impact on children’s vision have been making the news lately. Last month, Nintendo issued a warning that children under the age of 6 should not use the hand-held 3DS gaming system because it could be harmful to young children’s vision. In this New York Times article, eye doctors are quoted saying 3D really has little impact on children’s vision and isn’t harmful. It seems the deeper issue may be too much screen time – 3D or 2D – in general. This post at Rodale.com notes that too much screen time can increase stress levels, hinder brain development and keep kids indoors (which becomes an overall health issue). It’s important for parents to realize just as children’s bodies are growing and developing, their eyes are too. Babies learn to control their eyes and develop hand-eye coordination and as they grow into toddlers and preschoolers, they continue to develop coordination and depth perception. By the time children reach school age, they should have regular eye exams to detect any potential problems. The added reading and other close work at school can put a strain on children’s eyes, making those regular exams critical. While definitive studies on the impact of 3D viewing isn’t yet known, it’s certainly not a bad idea to limit children’s overall screen viewing. Encourage more time outdoors and regular breaks to give the eyes a rest.
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