Cover Your Eyes!

8 Sep 2011

The 3D battle rages on. The manufacturers see it clearly. The future of the market of screens passes to 3 Dimensions and the journalists who serve as guinea pigs transmit to the consumer brief traces of dismay. The latest example is a special envoy of the newspaper Le Monde to the electronics convention IFA Berlin said after being positioned in front of a Toshiba 3D screen without glasses that “a blurry impression goes away when one turns the head”.

Following the request for an inquiry in February 2011 from Robin des Bois on the health and ocular effects in particular of the Nintendo 3DS (1), ANSES (2) and the NGO have estimated together that the questions concerning the potential health effects of this game console merit being asked to the entire line of 3D technology (cinema, television, cell phones…).

At first, ANSES just delivered a first warning on only the 3D game consoles: the known potential health effects are fatigue, irritation and other vision trouble and extra-ocular symptoms like headaches, muscle aches, and nausea (3).

Two types of populations appearing singularly exposed to these effects:

-Persons suffering from turned eyes. ANSES observes that a significant part of the population, most often undiagnosed, suffer from these pathologies. The most well-known is heterophoria, that is, the tendency of an individual to squint.

-Children in which the ocular system is still in development. ANSES estimates that it is not possible to determine an age limit after which exposure to 3D images from game consoles will not affect the visual development of the child.

The first warning from ANSES confirms that the messages of prevention spread by Nintendo are insufficient. According to the instructions of the Nintendo 3DS, there would not be risk of negative effects on the vision of children over the age of 6. However, Nintendo is to our knowledge the only producer or distributor using 3D technology to evoke risks to vision and to recommend restrictions to access.

Robin des Bois is now waiting for the second warning from ANSES on all of the health risks of the ensemble of 3D audiovisual technology accessible to children and to the general population whether they are used for recreational, educational, or professional ends.

At this point, the period at which the second warning will be released is not defined.

Promoted today, tomorrow 3D will be the norm. From now on, vendors of sounds and images will attack the visual system, unless specialists of sensory perception draw up an assessment of the impacts and risks of this technology.


(1) Press release “The Nintendo 3DSyndrome”, March 24, 2011
(2) National Agency for the Sanitation of Food, Work, and the Environment
(3) ANSES warning from July 13, 2011 (in French)





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