Could 3D Video Gaming Wreck Your Eyes?

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Stereoscopic Features

According to Optometrists Network, "a network of interconnected patient education and optometric web sites which educate the public about visual health," two Harvard Nobel laureates in the early 1960s identified a "critical period"--up to age seven--during which brains are still "learning" stereopsis. While recent neuroplasticity research suggests it's "never to late" to improve strabismus, Audioholics surmises conversely that it's "never too late to learn bad habits that could create visual problems."

Resting their exhortation about the perils of 3D on reports of "nausea, disorientation or postural instability, and visual symptoms" culled from data collected by Standard Research Lab some 15 years ago for Sega's failed VR headset, Audioholics advises "protecting yourself and your family by using that new [3D] HDTV for standard 2D viewing a majority of your time."

So is Audioholics right, or just being alarmist?

It's hard to say without taking an equally indefensible position. We're still in the nascent stages of mass 3D adoption. We're not (yet) viewing images using iterations of stereoscopic technology for hours, days, and weeks on end. We thus lack the necessary up-to-date research to say much definitively at this point. Audioholics simply builds on what others have have already been saying, in turn built on dated 1990s research.

What we should do, is demand more research, independently verified, and presented unvarnished to the public. I want to know as much as anyone else whether the eyestrain I felt watching a movie like Avatar in 3D could have longterm negative ramifications for my eyesight. I want to know if my kids (when I have them) should steer clear of the technology until they're older. I want to know what's scientific and what's hearsay, and that's why we need independent researchers to step up and tell us what they're seeing (no pun intended) as soon as possible.

Follow me on Twitter (@game_on)

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