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3DS ill effects 'uncommon', says expert

Those suffering 3DS 'dizziness' risk no permanent damage, adds doctor

Gamers who are vulnerable to suffering sore eyes or short-term headaches from the Nintendo 3DS are "relatively uncommon" and risk no permanent damage.

That's according to University of Cambridge graphics and imaging expert Dr. Neil A Dodgson, who gave CVG his professional opinion on the on-going media hoopla surrounding ill effects suffered by some 3DS users.


Crucially, Dr. Dodgson painted us a very different picture to tabloid reports, which claim that the 3DS is "the most returned games console ever" following "thousands" of headache sufferers across the UK.

"All current commercial 3D technologies (3DS, 3DTV, 3D movies) require a disconnect between accommodation and vergence," Dr. Dodgson explained. "There are two sets of muscles in the eyes, one of which focuses the eyes on the thing you are looking at (accommodation), the other of which converges the eyes at the position you are looking (vergence).

"In the real world, the two sets of muscles work together. With the commercial 3D technologies, you need to focus on the screen but converge on the virtual objects - which means that the two sets of muscles are no longer working together.

"This can cause problems for anyone if the virtual objects are too far in front or too far behind the screen; content providers know this and make sure that they keep objects near the screen most of the time.

"Unfortunately, there are some people who are very sensitive to the situation where those two muscle systems are not working together. The effect, for them, will be a feeling of sore eyes or a headache, which will cause no permanent damage but will mean that they cannot use the 3D device.

"Fortunately for the 3D industry, these 'very sensitive' people are relatively uncommon," he said, concluding that while there are some technological solutions to the ill effects of 3D, none of them are commercially viable at present.

In case you missed it, yesterday The Sun newspaper ran a front page story claiming that "thousands have suffered headaches and dizziness" as a result of using the 3DS hardware, followed up by another report this morning headlined 'game for a barf'.

Nintendo's since dismissed the report as "incorrect", telling CVG "The number of calls and emails with queries on Nintendo 3DS is in fact well below the rate experienced during past hardware launches".