French health watchdog warns against the effects of 3D images

Being a relatively new technology to come into our homes, on TVs, computers and video games, 3D imagery does not have very many regulations, and little is known about the long term use of it.

The watchdog, The Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES), have recommended that children under 6 not be allowed to view 3D images, and that those under 13 should only be allowed “moderate” access.

This warning stems from a pioneering analysis of research into the effects that 3D images can have on the developing eye. It is to do with the way that the eyes align when focusing on an object, known as ‘vergence-accommodation’.

The statement from ANSES read: “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.”

Nintendo pioneered 3D use in the video gaming industry with their 3DS system. Their website warns “viewing of 3D images by children six and under may cause vision damage,” and included a parental control system on the handheld console to regulate the amount of 3D that children can use.

The American Optometric Association however says on its website that there have been no detrimental effects of 3D viewing yet reported. Italy’s health ministry has already sought to restrict the use by young children.

However, there are no policies or official restrictions in place in the UK at the moment, so if you are a parent, use your discretion as to whether you allow your child to view 3D images, but bear in mind these warnings.