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12% of UK 'can't see 3D'

Eye expert dampens prospect of 3D gaming revolution

Between 10 and 12 per cent of the UK population will miss out on the PlayStation 3 and Nintendo 3DS 3D revolution due to visual impairment, according UK charity The Eyecare Trust.

According to the Trust, over six million British consumers have poor binocular vision, which means they either cannot see or have difficulty seeing the effects of the 3DS or PlayStation 3's stereoscopic 3D.

"It's more than you think," said Dharmesh Patel, chairman of The Eyecare Trust. "About 12 per cent have 3D vision problems and you'll find a similar percentage worldwide.

"I don't think there are any long-term negative impacts. But it can create really bad headaches and aches behind the eyes," he told trade mag MCV. "For these six million people it's like taking the 3D glasses off, making everything all blurry. You can't see the image and that causes headaches, eye-strain and blurred vision."

3D technology relies on our eyes' ability to work together to achieve a perception of depth, Patel explains.

Research shows that more than one in ten of us have a visual impairment, where our brains cannot process individual images from our left and right eyes. According to the expert, potentially millions of people don't even know they have a visual problem.

"3D is appearing everywhere and there's loads of people complaining that they can't see it," he said. "There will be people who have not attended an eye examination in years and are probably unaware they have a lazy eye or something like that.

"Some people won't even know why they can't see it. Sometimes something can be done, but it depends on the individual case."

Nintendo's already made clear that because of developing eyesight, the Nintendo 3DS is not suitable for children.

A potentially difficult problem for the platform holders' plans then. Does anyone out there have problems seeing 3D images at the cinema or on PS3?