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A Timeline of Your Infant’s Vision Development

Your baby’s got a good healthy pair of fresh eyes and their vision goes through many milestones in their first year of life. Find out below the milestones of your baby’s vision and learn how to accommodate to your baby’s developing vision.

Pregnancy.

Unbeknownst to many, an infant’s vision development starts during pregnancy. If you’re a pregnant mother, taking good care of your body is vital to safeguard your baby’s healthy eyes and good vision. Be sure to heed the instructions regarding nutrition and the amount of proper rest given by your medical professional (be it OB-GYN, a family physician or a certified nurse-midwife).

Being cautious of your food intake is critical as the food you ingest is your baby’s main source of nourishment. Be sure to talk to your doctor before taking any medicine or supplements during your pregnancy.

After pregnancy.

At birth

Congrats! Your baby is born! A baby’s vision changes and goes through many developmental milestones in the first year. At birth, your baby will have 20/400 vision, thus giving them blurry vision. 
So don’t fret if your baby isn’t making eye contact with you. Also, at this time, your baby can only see in black and white. 

Months 1-3:

At the start, infants are unable to focus on objects that are more than 8-10 inches (20-25 cm) away from their faces. By 8 weeks, as their retinas develop, your baby’s pupils widen and they can see light and dark ranges and patterns. Large shapes and bright colors may begin to attract their attention too. While your baby will begin to focus on an object right in front of them, they may still prefer to focus on brightly coloured objects further away. 
As your baby approaches his/her 4th month, he/she will develop clearer visual acuity. Your baby should also be able to follow moving objects and reach for objects he or she sees. Furthermore, your baby should be able to shift their gaze from one object to another without tilting their head. 

Tips: 

  • Decorate your baby’s room with more bright colours to stimulate his or her colour vision
  • Hang a colourful mobile near their crib
  • Talk to your baby as you walk around the room
  • Place reach-and-touch toys within your baby’s focus of 8-12 inches (20-25cm)
  • Ensure you alternate your child’s position in the crib frequently

Months 4-6:

During these months, your baby will go through significant milestones in the vision centers of his/her brain, improving your baby’s control of eye movements and eye-body coordination skills.

While your baby’s colour vision is not as sensitive as an adult’s, it is estimated that your baby will have good colour vision by 5 months of age

Tips:

  • Give your baby plenty of play area for him or her to crawl and explore 
  • Play songs with hand movements and move your baby’s hands through the motions
  • Provide your baby with wooden blocks with different textures

Months 7-12:

This is a vital development period for your baby. At this stage, infants are gaining a better awareness of their overall body and how to coordinate their vision with their body movements. As your baby starts to crawl, this will improve their eye-hand-foot-body coordination. 

American Optometric Association advises parents to encourage crawling rather than walking to enhance their babies’ eye-hand-foot-body coordination.

Tips:

  • Play hide and seek games with toys or your face to enhance the baby’s visual memory
  • Give your baby stacking and take-apart toys
  • Associate names with objects to enhance the baby’s vocabulary developmental skills
  • Sit with your baby and read books with interesting pictures and textures

Eye Examinations

It is important that your baby receives a comprehensive eye examination in their first year, to identify any developmental delays and vision-related problems. Identifying vision-related problems early have a better chance of being treated successfully.

What’s the difference between a comprehensive eye examination and a regular eye test?

A regular eye test only looks out for vision impairments such as refractive errors (myopia, astigmatism and more).

In a comprehensive eye examination, the optometrist will examine your eyes for the potential eye conditions or disorders that you or your baby are at risk of developing, as well as refractive errors and other vision impairments.

Book an appointment.

If you are a plano user, you can enjoy discounts of up to $60 off when you book an eye appointment with one of our partners. 

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