Parents are always curious about their developing children, and what they can expect for various stages of infancy. We’re happy to explain infant eye development, and to let parents know not only what to expect, but when they should bring their child in for an exam, and why this is important.
Birth to 4 Months
After being born, babies are suddenly able to see all kinds of new things! We know that babies don’t see very clearly for some time, so high-contrast books, toys, and images may get their attention better than others. After the first few months, eyes get better working together to focus on objects and aid hand-eye coordination. At about two months, most babies can focus on a parent’s face or nearby object. It’s common for children to appear to have wandering or crossing eyes. It doesn’t become a concern unless this happens frequently, or seems to get worse. By three months, your child can probably watch an object move through a room and keep their focus on it.
As babies this age move more, interact with the world, and start to judge distance, their eyesight improves. It’s not until about five months that children are able to see and comprehend three dimensions, so they won’t begin to see depth until around now. Most babies crawl around eight months or so, but don’t worry if your baby isn’t crawling well right away. Children should be encouraged to take their time developing skills. Babies who crawl a lot usually learn to use their eyes together better than babies who were early walkers.
Around this time, most babies are experimenting with pulling themselves up on furniture, or using someone’s fingers to keep themselves steady and talk a few aided steps. Don’t rush crawling, however. Babies who master crawling before learning to walk tend to have been hand-eye coordination. Additionally, babies at this stage are better able to judge distance and begin to throw and place items.
Children between one and two years of age are usually highly interested in exploring their surroundings, interacting with objects, and occasionally making some pretty impressive messes! Motor skills will excel along with depth perception and their improving eyesight.
How Do I Help My Child’s Vision Development?
First, be sure to get your child an eye exam at about six months of age. Qualified pediatric optometrists are trained in using lights and lenses to understand what is going on inside your child’s eyes. Even without having the ability to relay information about how well they’re seeing, your baby’s eyes give clues about their development. If they show signs of an eye turn, focusing problem, or other issue that could impede development, it’s very important to seek treatment as soon as possible. An optometrist can diagnose these conditions and make sure your child is aided in visual development so that they can keep moving and learning freely!
Beyond getting an infant eye exam, children need another exam before starting school. In the meantime, look for any signs of vision trouble like bumping into things, not recognizing you from a distance, or eyes that seem not to focus in unison. If you have any questions, speak to an eye care professional. Otherwise, play with your baby and enjoy this time as they learn and grow.