Birth to 1 month
At birth, babies don’t know to use their eyes together, so they may wander randomly. But by the time they are one or two months old they’ll have learned to focus both eyes and will be able to track a moving object. But be alert if you see a large and constant misalignment of their eyes.
Baby’s eyes are not very sensitive to light in the first month of life. In fact, the amount of light required for a 1-mth-old infant to be aware that light is present is 50 times high- er than that of an adult. So it’s fine to leave some lights on in the nursery, it won’t af-
fect their ability to sleep.
Their vision distance is just about 8 to 12 inches, so get close to them often. To help stimulate your baby’s vision, decorate their surroundings with cheerful colors.
2 to 4 months
Many advances in vision development take place, and their eyes are beginning to move better as a team. Children should be able to follow moving objects at this stage. Also, infants at this stage of development are learning how to shift their gaze from one object to another without having to move their head.
Colour differences become clearer, and they starts to distinguish between similar shades (encourage this by letting them look at bright pictures, photos, books, and toys). At 3 months, infant’s light detection threshold is only 10 times that of an adult. So you may want to dim the lights a bit more for naps and bedtime.
Around 4 months, babies will begin to see how far away something is from them. They’ll also be gaining better control over their arms, and will start to grab for things such as hair and earrings much more accurately (and spectacles!).
To help stimulate 2- to 3-mth-old child’s vision development, add new items to their
room or frequently change the location of the crib or existing items in the room, talk to your baby as you walk around the room, keep a night light on to provide visual stimulation when they are awake in their crib.
While infants should be placed on their backs for sleep to decrease the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), put them on their stomachs when they are awake and you can supervise them. This provides important visual and motor experiences.
5 to 7 months
By age 6 months, significant advances have taken place in the vision centers of the brain, allowing the infant to see sharper, more distinctly and move their eyes quicker and more accurately to follow moving objects. They may even be able to recognize an object after seeing only part of it. Babies also have better eye-hand coordination, al- lowing them to quickly locate and pick up objects and accurately direct a bottle (and many other things!) to their mouth.
Six months of age also is an important milestone because this is when children should have their first children’s eye exam.
To stimulate the development of children’s eye-hand-body coordination, get down on the floor with them and encourage them to crawl to objects. Also provide plenty of objects and toys that they can take apart and put together.
We recommend that children have their eyes tested at 6 to 12 months old and 2 to 3 years of age.