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Displays Graphics Medicine

French Health Watchdog: 3D Viewing May Damage Eyesight In Children 99

dryriver (1010635) writes with this clipping from the BBC: A French health watchdog has recommended that children under the age of six should not be allowed access to 3D content. The Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (Anses) added that access for those up to the age of 13 should be 'moderate'. It follows research into the possible impact of 3D imaging on still-developing eyes. Few countries currently have guidelines about 3D usage. According to Anses, the process of assimilating a three-dimensional effect requires the eyes to look at images in two different places at the same time before the brain translates it as one image. 'In children, and particularly before the age of six, the health effects of this vergence-accommodation conflict could be much more severe given the active development of the visual system at this time,' it said in a statement.
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French Health Watchdog: 3D Viewing May Damage Eyesight In Children

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  • The Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety

    Isn't this agency a little too spread out in various domains? Shouldn't there be three agencies for those?

  • by creimer ( 824291 ) on Thursday November 06, 2014 @04:23PM (#48328023) Homepage

    According to Anses, the process of assimilating a three-dimensional effect requires the eyes to look at images in two different places at the same time before the brain translates it as one image.

    Isn't that how normal vision works anyway?

    • by PacoSuarez ( 530275 ) on Thursday November 06, 2014 @04:28PM (#48328077)

      According to Anses, the process of assimilating a three-dimensional effect requires the eyes to look at images in two different places at the same time before the brain translates it as one image.

      Isn't that how normal vision works anyway?

      That's why France doesn't allow children under the age of six to open both eyes at the same time.

    • by AaronLS ( 1804210 ) on Thursday November 06, 2014 @04:29PM (#48328083)

      Normally, your convergence and focus operate together.

      With 3D imaging your convergence varies but focal point remains the same. No where outside of viewing a 3D image will your eyes ever experience such a scenario.

      • Normally, your convergence and focus operate together.

        With 3D imaging your convergence varies but focal point remains the same. No where outside of viewing a 3D image will your eyes ever experience such a scenario.

        And it gives me a headache. (Which I took as a cue that it probably doesn't do me any good)

        • But it's not a problem today because nobody watches their 3d tvs in 3d. It was an over-hyped selling point.
          • It's a potentially great selling point, just poorly implemented.
            • Nope. There is no way to get round the convergence-accomodation problem, except when the image is both logically and physically so far away that 3D is irrelevant.

              3D is a bad idea. It makes your head hurt because you are experiencing the impossible. If it does not make your head hurt, then it is doing you harm.

              • I've found that 3D TV doesn't give me as much of a headache the closer I am to the position where the 3D looks natural, ie along the line perpendicular to the center of the TV and at an appropriate distance. Having the hardware directly attached to my face like with Google Glasses would mean I could be in the ideal position where the two images are correct for where I am.

                Besides this, it might be possible to focus the light of different objects differently, so that they come into focus when my eye's lens is

              • by Prune ( 557140 )
                That's absolutely false. Lightfield displays (for example, microlens array based ones) recreate proper focal depth variation throughout the image, as do volumetric displays. Examples of both have been around for years, and in the case of the latter, at least a decade.
        • by Shinobi ( 19308 )

          Yeah, about 25% of all humans have neurologically impared depth perception, ranging from mild to complete disability.

          I have mild problems with it, and stereographic imaging(3D glasses, VR HMD's) gives me eyestrain within 5-10 minutes and a blistering headache at 20-30min....

      • You are correct, so stereoscopic 3D could potentially cause problems for a developing brain, but so can TV and video-devices in general. It's probably a good idea to wait until someone is at least 6 before feeding them any kind of media. Let them get started playing in the real world.
      • No where outside of viewing a 3D image will your eyes ever experience such a scenario.

        But that doesn't mean it causes any permanent (or even temporary) damage to your eyesight. TFA claims that there is evidence that it does, but doesn't provide any citation. I did a Google search, and found research conducted on adults (none on children) that showed it causes "eyestrain", which could lead to damage, but none of the studies found any damage at all. In summary, I found NO evidence that 3D viewing causes any damage, and I found NO evidence that it affects children differently than adults. I

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Eyesight is probably the most important sense you have to interact with the world. It's precious and even a slight chance off affecting it is enough to not take the risk. It's not like we're depriving kids of something important anyway.

          I don't see what's wrong with the recommandation and the fact that an agency for food, environmental and occupational health and safety studies the effect of 3D viewing on people and kids. Sounds to me they are doing their job.

          • Eyesight is probably the most important sense you have to interact with the world. It's precious and even a slight chance off affecting it is enough to not take the risk. It's not like we're depriving kids of something important anyway.

            I don't see what's wrong with the recommandation and the fact that an agency for food, environmental and occupational health and safety studies the effect of 3D viewing on people and kids. Sounds to me they are doing their job.

            But there's no evidence.

            Does that mean we should recommend against everything else where there's no evidence of damage too?

            Funny how incidence of myopia and use of mobile phones are both increasing...

            Quick! Ban mobile phones - won't anyone think of the children?

        • by AaronLS ( 1804210 ) on Thursday November 06, 2014 @06:07PM (#48328935)

          The question I responded to was how is viewing a 3D image different, not an explanation of how it is harmful or any claim that it was or was not harmful. However there is flawed logic in your response.

          " and found research conducted on adults (none on children) " ...and there you go. The lack of evidence doesn't prove/disprove anything. Although it's probably more a lack of diligent reporting on the journalist's part combined with the research may be in journals that aren't freely available(and abstracts with technical wording that don't turn up in a google). It sounds like to me you've pointed out why there SHOULD be such a study.

          Additionally, studies where you hypothesize that subjects will come to significant irreparable harm are usually considered unethical. You have to instead observe those who already engage in those behaviors, and because they don't all engage in them in a consistent manner, then it's difficult to prove something. This is exactly why no one has proven cigarettes cause cancer. When a scientist talks about proving something, it's much more rigorous than what the average person thinks of. In the absence of a controlled experiment, you instead make statistical observations. Even if they found extreme statistics, such as 94% of people who smoke get cancer within a week of smoking, it still wouldn't prove anything cause you could have a correlation with some other variable out of your control. It is statistically significant however, and for these kind of things, it is the closest thing to proof you will get. That aside from rubbing cigarette tar on an animal and seeing cancer form. But that's usually not enough for people who like to argue.

      • But is there any evidence whatsoever that this is harmful?

        • Not that I've heard of. To make this even more complicated, I think the odds that it will cause adaptive changes are high, but whether those changes are 'harm' is up for interpretation.

          I remember reading somewhere that when the original star trek series aired, significant numbers of people couldn't do the vulcan greeting. However, the percentage is nearly 100% today due to changes in how we use our hands training our brains differently. Secondly, modern humans tend to be more able to independently move o

      • by marciot ( 598356 )

        Normally, your convergence and focus operate together.

        With 3D imaging your convergence varies but focal point remains the same. No where outside of viewing a 3D image will your eyes ever experience such a scenario.

        Interestingly, artificial 3D is the only 3D I've experienced. I've been stereo-blind for as long as I remember, but recently I read Sue Barry's book and found out my eyes converged properly within four inches of my face. So I was able to experience depth by using anaglyph glasses and an iPhone held really close to my nose. I began converting 3D movies to anaglyph and watching them on my iPhone, gradually moving it away from my face. Now I can see 3D at about a foot away, on a laptop screen.

        When I am finally

      • by Khyber ( 864651 )

        " No where outside of viewing a 3D image will your eyes ever experience such a scenario."

        Have you ever gone out in nature, before? Quite often you will find yourself fixed on a single focal point, and you might look at it for a long time. It could be far away, it could be up close.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 06, 2014 @04:29PM (#48328089)

      Yes. They should have added this: Normal 3d vision from natural surroundings has the eyes converge at the same distance that they focus. Artificial 3D technology has the eyes do something they never did before. That is focusing at a near distance while converging at a farther distance.

      • by erlkonig ( 15872 )

        Well... optically would probably could make it focussing at a far distance while looking at a converging at a nearer distance (flipped from above), but the point is that no accomodation (focus change) is required for for 3D screens, and that could impact kids' brains learning how to integrate focus into the set of cues used for depth perception.

        Othewise said, Anses is an idiot in this area and has no idea what the real issue is, though there might be one: "three-dimensional effect requires the eyes to look

    • by bigpat ( 158134 )

      Isn't that how normal vision works anyway?

      Yes, but there is a difference between displaying a 3D image on a screen and having depth perception in the real world. In the real world your eyes changes focus to switch between near and far objects. With a fixed screen you end up being some fixed focus distance away from the screen and your eyes won't need to change focus looking at different parts of the screen which are displaying 3D objects that are meant to be a different distances away from the viewer. Even though your brain is registering somet

    • According to Anses, the process of assimilating a three-dimensional effect requires the eyes to look at images in two different places at the same time before the brain translates it as one image.

      Isn't that how normal vision works anyway?

      sure, but modern 3d tech, as good as it is, is still a bit of a kludge. the screen is still a fixed distance away from your eyes. the image doesn't move when you move your eyes. the interpupilary distance used to render the two images may not match your own. Having viewed a 3d world our whole lives we are impressed by the reproduction in an occulus rift. However we are also blissfully unaware how much work went into our brain building up a database of how to interpret what is coming in from our eyes.

      for

      • that said, it's unlikely that a kid who grows up with too much vr is going to die. they just might feel a bit dizzy walking around the real world. is that horrible?

        Um... yeah. Actually, being dizzy as you walk around in the real world sounds pretty awful. That's where most of us spend the bulk of their time, after all.

        As with all things, including 3D VR, moderation is probably best, especially with young children. Not that we need to panic about each new technology that comes along, but rather, it seems reasonable to take a "prove to me it's safe over the long term" rather than "jump in immediately and wait to see if it's harmful later" with younger kids, who turn

        • yeah, i think it's easy for us to miss the importance of all the data our brains gather in childhood. Neuroplasticity be damned, i don't think it's the kind of database your brain is able to set up later either. I think best case scenario, a person who spent too much VR time in their formative years would experience the outside world much as we experience VR; not quite right. I think worst case scenario could go off the charts. At the very least, i don't think i would trust such a person behind the wheel of
      • Thing is, they are missing the research and citations...
        For all we know, it could actually put kids who use both early at an advantage. They might not get dizzy in any situations. They might have better abilities to judge distances both real and virtual. They may have better hand eye coordination from "touching" things that aren't actually there. It might take a while to develop those skills just as a bilingual child takes longer developing language skills, but ultimately can get both languages to a nea

    • Normal vision works by looking at the same image(or item) from two different angles.
    • You're thinking too much. This is France. Think of the children! Don't bring logic into this.
      • by creimer ( 824291 )
        I didn't know that the French were Republicans!
        • French are indeed republicans, but the word does not have the same meaning as in the US: the whole political spectrum claim to be republican, even the communists.
    • Isn't that how normal vision works anyway?

      This same problem with artificial 3-D vision was announced a LONG time ago. Like 7-8 years ago.

      • by Prune ( 557140 )
        Yep. The main concern at the time was the possibility for development of strabismus if 3D (that does not recreate variable focal distance) was overused, especially in children.
    • According to Anses, the process of assimilating a three-dimensional effect requires the eyes to look at images in two different places at the same time before the brain translates it as one image.

      Isn't that how normal vision works anyway?

      In normal vision, we look at the same place from two slightly different directions. Furthermore, it is well-established that the neural 'wiring' for assimilating these two views into a single stereo image develops during childhood, in response to the stimuli. (I am not so sure about this, but I think this is also true for the wiring that controls the eye muscles and therefore the convergence of vision.) I am not a biologist, but I think there are grounds for concern here.

  • You can put a password lock on 3d mode on the 3DS, the oculus rift comes with a big 'ol "not for kids" warning, and I wouldn't be surprised if 3d movies include warnings(but who buys those?)

    People were already aware of this risk, but thanks France.

    • And Nintendo already recommended an age of 6 before using 3D mode.

      • This would indicate to me that France is not off base here. If the game manufacturers are willing to harm their sales with a recommendation like that, there's likely a real issue.
    • n=1, but I wasn't aware of this.. I thought that (rift withstanding) only kids were interested in gimmicky 3d effects.

    • the oculus rift comes with a big 'ol "not for kids" warning

      Interesting. What's different about the Oculus that makes it less safe than a Viewmaster? (FWIW, it seems that Fisher-Price still markets Viewmaster to young children)

      • Nothing that I can think of, technically. However, Viewmaster was something that I remember using for maybe 2-3 hours over my entire life. I'd believe hearing about a kid using a 3DS for 2-3 hours per day for long periods (and longer, if their parents allow it). If Oculus were more widespread, I'd expect something similar to happen there.

        The next question would be how much exposure it takes to damage a child's visual development.
  • by enjar ( 249223 ) on Thursday November 06, 2014 @04:24PM (#48328031) Homepage

    By making them go outside and play instead of sitting in front of the TV/computer/tablet.

  • It follows research into the possible impact of 3D imaging on still-developing eyes. Few countries currently have guidelines about 3D usage.

    And what research is this referring to? The article gives no information about the alleged research, though it does mention Nintendo's warning on the 3DS which just happens to say the 3D feature should only be used by children 7 years or older.

  • My eyes are very slightly near-sighted, and have remained exactly this near-sighted since I was 14. I blame 11-year-old me's extensive use of the VirtualBoy (and my barely following through with its programmed 5-minute breaks between 30-minute sessions). It's nice to see confirmation that this kind of thing is bad (though the screens being very close probably contributed as much as the screens being 3d).

  • Normally, your convergence and focus operate together. With 3D imaging your convergence varies but focal point remains the same. No where outside of viewing a 3D image will your eyes ever experience such a scenario. www.alamnisaa.com
  • by the_skywise ( 189793 ) on Thursday November 06, 2014 @05:02PM (#48328305)

    I'm blind now!

    Oh wait... No I'm not...

    I had a pile of viewmaster reels and a viewer that I'd spend hours looking at when I was between 4-6 and I made my own 3D pictures and posters using red/blue markers as a pre-teen.

    I'll agree that back to back marathon viewings of 3D content probably isn't good but I think that's just basic common sense and just as bad as watching back to back marathon viewings of 2D content... which I also did as a child on Saturday Mornings... :/

  • Because kids view in 3d all the time. The entire world is in 3d.

    If the study had some claim about BAD 3d, that would be a different thing. but my brain and eyes are constantly "assimilating a three-dimensional effect requires the eyes to look at images in two different places at the same time before the brain translates it as one image."

    Most likely this article was written by a moron. That's not an insult against developmentally challenged people by using the clinical term as insult. I believe the "j

    • > If the study had some claim about BAD 3d, that would be a different thing.

      I saw Spacehunter Adventures in the Forbidden Zone in 3D as a kid and suffered horrible brain damage.

      I don't think it was the 3D tech though...

    • by Prune ( 557140 )
      What are you talking about? The key issue even made it into the Slashdot summary: "the health effects of this vergence-accommodation conflict could be much more severe". This is the defining characteristic of bad 3D. Let's hope microlens array-based lightfield displays make it to the mass market sooner than later so we can leave this issue behind.
  • I went through a big "red/blue glasses" 3D phase when I was a kid. I'm now 37 and to this day I have a slightly different color balance between my two eyes: if I look with only my right eye everything is slightly reddish and is I look with only my left eye everything is slightly bluish (this is, IIRC, the opposite of the lens). It's only noticeable if I specifically pay attention to it, but it appears to be permanent.

  • ... was all but dead anyway. Replaced by the (OMG! it costs how much?) 4K fad.

  • Comming to think of it, a plain old 2D display has the same issues.

    The distance from viewer to display is fixed, yet the watched content changes from close-ups to wide panorama, so both convergence and focal point are in conflict with what the viewer sees. On top of that the camera FOV creates permanently blurry areas that can't be fixed by the viewer changing focus. Blue tint on the picture of supposedly far mointains lies about the real distance and the focal point of the viewer is, again, in conflict

    • The distance from viewer to display is fixed, yet the watched content changes from close-ups to wide panorama, so both convergence and focal point are in conflict with what the viewer sees.

      I hope, for humanity's sake, that you're either being wilfully obtuse or you're very unfunny but don't know it.

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