Your baby has a beautiful future in store – make sure they can see it. Once your baby is born, their eyes are developing so that they can see the world around them. But sometimes, their eyes need a little help.
Understanding how baby vision development works will help you know whether things are going well and when it’s time to seek professional help. Read on to learn what parents need to know about their young children’s eyes.
Caring for Your Baby’s Eyes
Once they are born, babies should be seeing medical professionals who will track their development and be on the lookout for any problems. The first few years of life play such a large factor in having a healthy life and spotting problems early on.
Just as you would take your newborn to a pediatrician, scheduling a first eye exam is also an important step in your child’s life. Even if you haven’t noticed anything is wrong, having an eye exam at 6 months old will encourage healthy baby vision development.
At a first exam, an optometrist will test the eyes for:
- Movement ability
- Overall health
Regular eye exams will ensure any problems that escape your notice are treated. However, there are ways you can be proactive in helping your child’s vision develop well.
How to Help Baby Vision Development
While baby’s eyes will develop on their own, there are important ways you can help create the best conditions for their growth. Here are our top tips:
- Get glasses as needed. At that important first eye exam, preferably when a child is 6 months old, an optometrist may recommend glasses. This isn’t just to help the baby see. Experts conclude that corrective vision helps baby vision development improve, giving them better eyesight in the future.
- Provide items that catch their eye. By giving your baby something they want to see, you can provide a focal point for them to train their eyes. Mobiles are great for this with their many colors and no need to sit up. As they get older, try using mirrors where they can see themselves.
- Give them opportunities to look at the world. When it’s safe, open up the world to your baby through things like exploring on the floor, sitting in front-facing car seats, or using a front baby carrier. Rather than staring at a headrest or your chest, they look at the world around them, using their farsightedness.
Signs of Problems
You can do everything possible for your baby, but that doesn’t ensure there won’t be problems. Keeping an eye on your child’s development is key to avoiding larger issues in the future. So as your baby’s eyes develop, look out for these common signs of problems:
- Squinting, especially when it doesn’t seem warranted.
- One eye moves far more than the other.
- Severe sensitivity to light.
- Different size eyes or pupils.
- Exciting things (like mobiles or toys) don’t catch your baby’s attention.
- Eyes don’t track objects.
- Red or encrusted lids.
- Excessive tearing.
- Eyes turn in or out.
- Discolored pupils.
While not all of these are symptoms of serious problems, they will all require help from a medical professional. The sooner you provide help, the better things will be for your child’s long-term vision.
The Baby Vision Development Timeline
If you want to provide the best environment for your baby’s vision development or spot problems before they are serious, it’s important to understand how your child’s eyes are developing. By knowing what milestones should be met, you can spot which are missed and get help from your child’s optometrist.
The First Month of Life
When firstborn, babies can typically only see an arm’s length distance. Eyes will often be kept close. While some babies may look directly into faces (likely after they hear an exciting voice), it’s not abnormal for babies not to make direct eye contact at this age.
2-3 Months Old
Vision is improving, but little ones still can’t see very far at this age and their sight remains blurry. This is especially true for premature newborns. Children may start to recognize faces at this point and will begin seeing hues of colors.
A child’s eyes may still not seem focused and may regularly wander, but this is normal. Just look out for excessive turning.
4-8 Months Old
Children are learning how to better control their eyes, focus in, and use hand-body coordination. Eyes are now working together and can track objects. They should be able to see several feet. They will even be able to recognize regular faces they see. Children are now seeing colors and may even express a preference for their favorite color.
As speaking with your baby is always best for developing language skills, use verbal language to help them make connections with words and what they’re seeing.
9-12 Months Old
Babies are now moving more, and you’ll see lots of crawling, grabbing, and even walking. Their eyes should be adjusting to seeing both near and far away. Hand-eye coordination, an important part of a baby’s vision development, is coming in faster than ever, and you may catch them moving and throwing items.
This is a great time for engaging with your child through play like hide-and-seek with toys and encouraging them to track and reach for objects.
1 Year and Beyond
At 1-year-old, your child’s vision is powerful enough to see similarly to adults. They see colors, objects, and things at a distance. By 2 years old, their hand-eye coordination and depth-perception are developed.
Although vision is developed by 2 years old, a child’s eyes continue to grow into their 20s. So it’s still important to get regular eye exams and get glasses as needed.
Schedule an Appointment for Your Baby’s Vision
Want to ensure the best vision for your child? Contact us to schedule an eye exam for your baby today and make sure their eyes are ready to see the world.