Much like a baby’s body and brain develop, an infant’s eyes go through a lot to develop in that first year. In the womb, a baby is able to differentiate between light and dark. While this will take a look at the typical vision development milestones that an infant goes through, you do need to remember that infants develop at their own pace. The pattern is still generally the same, but if you do have any concerns you should share them with your pediatrician.
When a baby is first born, they can’t see very well. There is a lot of visual stimulation that they are subject to as soon as they are born. The newborn can focus intently on an object that has a sharp contrast from the rest of the environment, they can’t really determine the difference between two objects or even move their eyes between them well. A newborn will only be able to see an object that is between 8 and 10 inches away from their face. Just within these first few months, the vision significantly improves. Their eyes begin to work together, and they can track objects. Sometimes during this period, their eyes may appear to be crossed but this is normal.
Right around the 5-month point, a baby starts to develop depth perception more fully. During this period, they will start seething things in 3D and will begin to get better at reaching for objects. At this point, they will also have decent color vision though it isn’t fully developed at this point. Towards the end of this period, an infant will be able to recognize a parent across the room. Sometimes they can even remember an object, despite only seeing part of it.
Infants really start having a grasp on the distance between them and an object at this point. Babies are able to grasp and better grip on things, especially as they start to walk. Their eye color is established at this point, though this can change later on. These new physical skills are linked to their vision. They can get a good idea of distance to grab things that they want and hold them.
Importance of Vision
Vision is crucial to the development of your child. Problems with vision can lead to developmental delays as they grow, so it is important to visit your doctor for every visit and express any concerns that you may have about your infant’s vision. In additional to regular checkups, there are other things that you can do to help with their vision development. Ensure that your child has plenty of visual stimuli, giving them interesting objects to look at and play with. Look for things with a stark color contrast as these are the easiest for infants to see and they are the most interesting for them visually. Be on the lookout for any issues, like eyes that turn in or out constantly or a significant delay in their vision milestones.