When Can Babies See?

image001 New born babies grow at a very rapid pace in the first few months of their post-natal life. This includes remarkable acquisition of new skills and abilities. Besides a mere increase in size and weight, the senses also develop tremendously. The key factor that plays a very important role in the development of vision is “visual stimulations”. The baby receives a lot of information from the surrounding and eventually learns to grasp, sit and crawl with the help of his eyesight.

When Can Babies See?

Susan E.C. Sorensen, an expert pediatrician, claims that new born babies are legally assumed to be blind until they are about 6 mix months old. However, it doesn’t mean that a baby can perfectly see and understand things like adults at this age. A baby can only feel motion and detect light after birth.

At about 3 months, the baby starts responding to stimulations (also known as “tracking”), for example, when you move an object side to side few inches away from his face. A 4-month-old baby can easily detect and try to reach for an object present in front of him about 1 foot distance. And he starts distinguishing between dissimilar objects like a colorful toy and a bottle when he becomes half year old. Most of the children by the age of 2 have 20/60 vision which is not absolute, but nearly perfect.

Furthermore Sorensen says that 8 years old is the age when the visual cortex of a child develops and he has no vision impairments i.e. 20/20 vision. A child’s regular checkup should include basic vision test, but until the age of 5 the baby can’t read an eye chart.

How Does Babies’ Eyesight Develop?

Now that you know when can babies see, here is the chart that shows vision development in your baby: 

Timeline

Descriptions

Newborn

After birth, your babies will experience a blurry vision but they can detect movements, light and some objects. Sudden bright light can make them blink eyes (a protective mechanism like adults). Babies can only focus the object in about 20 to 30cm distance, far enough to clearly view the person holding them.

One month

At this age babies progressively learns to focus with both eyes. If you pass a moving object in front of them, it will mesmerize them and their eyes will lock on the object.

Two months

At this age your babies start differentiating between colors and may prefer bright and more complicated designs and pictures.

Four months

This age will help your babies to hold and grab things like hair and objects by the help of their developed vision. Babies can tell how remote the things are. This is called depth perception.

Five months

Your babies will now improve in investigating and identifying small things. You can test your babies’ vision by playing hide & seek with them. If they spot or catch the view of the thing you hide, they might coo or delight by pointing the finger towards the object.

Eight months

Babies’ vision improves even further. They can see and recognize things at longer distances, almost like adults. But their short-ranged vision is still better than long-ranged.

Nine months

The age when your babies finally start demanding objects they see nearby. Their focused vision can now pick small things. Also, your babies are going to adopt the final color of their eyes.

Twelve months

Your babies can finally tell the difference between near and far. They also recognize the person approaching to them. They now possess a well-defined vision.

What Can You Do to Help With Babies’ Visual Development?

There are many ways through which parents can involve themselves in developing babies’ vision. Here are some examples with respect to babies at different ages.

Timeline

Descriptions

Birth to 4-months

Change the cribs and your babies’ positions recurrently.

Keep your babies’ toys eight to twelve inches away from them so that they can easily reach for the toys.

While walking and doing work, do talk to your babies.

Change the feeding positions alternatively.

Use dim light in babies’ room.

Five to eight months

Set up some toys across the crib for babies to grab and kick.

Let your babies travel around the floor and spend a little time with them.

Give them basic things to play with like wooden blocks that are easy to hold.

Nine to twelve months

To enhance babies’ visual memory, play games with them like hide and seek.

Try to read the names of the objects to improve babies’ memory and word association.

Support them with crawling and stealthily moving.

One to two years

Improve your babies’ tracking ability by rolling a ball in back and forth motion and let them focus the object.

Help your babies in growing their motor skills and small muscles. Provide them with balls and building blocks of different shapes and sizes.

You can watch this video to learn more about the visual development in babies:

How Do I Know If My Baby Has Vision Problems?

You may seldom see your babies’ eyes to roll randomly and away from each other. But you need to consult a doctor or your health adviser when you see them narrowing their eyes most of the time. You should be going to an orthoptist or ophthalmologist.

Do inform your doctor if you have any vision problems or genetic conditions in your family. On pediatric visits, point out if you notice any abnormal behavior or observe if babies’ eyes are moving unparallel to each other or stay crossed most of the time. Do witness if their one or both of the eyes wander or they are unable to detect an object by the time of your postnatal check.

Consult your pediatrician or optometrist when you notice any of these signs below in your babies.

Symptoms

Causes

Too much tearing

This may specify that babies have some problem in their tear ducts that they may be blocked.

Covered or colored eye lids

This may be due to an eye infection.

Rigid eye turning

It indicates some problem with the eye muscles.

Light sensitive eye blinking

The eye may be suffering from increased pressure.

A white spot on the pupil

Eye cancer might be the reason.

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