Babies will learn to see just like they learn to walk and talk! A baby’s vision is fairly undeveloped when they are born, so the first year and a half of a baby’s life can be critical in their visual development for the rest of their life. It is important that infants have healthy eyes and good vision. Deficits in those areas can not only lead to problems with vision, but can also affect a child’s ability to perform academically and socially throughout their lives!
What can you do as a parent to ensure that your baby has proper visual development?
Three easy steps to remember:
- Watch for signs of eye and vision problems
- Some signs include excessive tearing, sensitivity to light, constant eye turning, red eye lids and the appearance of a white pupil.
- Help your child develop their vision by engaging them in age-appropriate activities
- Schedule your baby for an eye exam by an eye doctor at about 6 months of age
How should your baby’s vision properly develop?
Birth – 4 Months Old
- Newborn babies do not have the ability to easily distinguish between targets. They also cannot move their eyes easily between targets.
- Focus for a newborn is about 8-10 inches from their face
- Eye-hand coordination should begin to develop during the first few months of life. Your baby should also begin to focus more on faces.
- At about 3 months of age, your baby should be able to follow objects with their eyes.
- Your baby’s eyes may sometimes appear crossed or uncoordinated. Usually, this is normal for a newborn baby, but if the problem seems to persist it is a good idea to seek help from an eye doctor.
- To help with development during this time change your child’s crib position frequently, talk to your baby as you walk around and alternate right and left sides each time you feed.
5 Months – 9 Months Old
- Eye-body coordination will continue to improve during this time, and your baby will begin to develop depth perception.
- Your baby should begin to develop pretty good color vision around the fifth month of age.
- Most babies will begin to crawl around 8 months of age. It’s important that your baby takes their time in the crawling stage of life because this period is critical for developing good eye-hand-foot coordination.
- To help with development during this time give your baby time to explore and play, provide toys such as blocks and play games where you can move your baby’s hands through the motions.
10 Months – 1 Year Old
- You baby will begin to stand and pull themselves up during this period. Eventually, they will begin to attempt to walk. Again, it is important that your baby spend adequate time crawling before walking to properly develop coordination.
- Most babies can now judge distance fairly well.
- To help with development during this time play games like hide-and-seek, name objects for your baby and encourage crawling
1 Year – 2 Year Old
- Eye-hand coordination is refined during this time.
- To help with development during this time roll a ball back and forth and read stories to stimulate your child.