Unless you’ve had a child, you might not realize that clear vision isn’t present at birth. Just like everything else a child learns, abilities come little by little. That includes vision development in infants. It takes time for certain abilities like color vision, depth perception, coordinating eyes and more to happen. Find out how vision develops in infants and children and how those first few years are so vital to clear vision throughout life!
Did you know that your baby’s sense of hearing develops much faster than their vision? Full hearing is developed in the first month of life. However, vision development takes much longer. In fact, children continue to have their vision develop and change all the way through age 10! Most of an infant’s vision development happens over the first 8 months of life. If you’ve had a baby, then you’ve noticed that their eyes are different at first.
You may notice that your infant often seems cross-eyed or that they don’t focus on objects or faces very well. A baby doesn’t have the ability to focus their eyes or to use them together for several months. Studies show that an infant develops their peripheral vision before their central vision. They may be able to see objects and people to the side of them, but not directly in front of them. This is also why an infant’s pupils are so small the first couple of weeks and why they are sensitive to bright light.
After the first couple of weeks, you will notice that the pupils are a bit larger than they were. This is a sign that the retina is developing, helping an infant to see the differences between light and dark. Infants tend to notice shadows and shapes before they notice details. They may love staring at a toy or pattern because it has a light color contrasting against a dark color. However, they may not notice objects if they are too far away. In fact, your infant can only see a few inches in front of their faces for several weeks.
Every week and every month, vision development is growing and changing in your infant. Here are month-by-month changes going on with their eyes:
As a parent, you don’t have to just be an observer. You can take an active role in an infant’s vision development and overall development. A great way to stimulate your child is to present them with colorful toys that have contrasting shades and shapes. Toys that make noise and make your child excited can help stimulate their curiosity, attention span, understanding and sensory development. Other tips suggested by the American Optometric Association include:
Infants use their eyes daily to take in information about the world around them. Long before they touch an object or taste it with their mouth, they have studied it with their eyes. Healthy vision development is crucial for your child if you want them to succeed. A major part of helping with infant vision development is noticing signs of vision problems. Watch your infant and see if they are hitting vision milestones. Abnormal vision symptoms are a sign that your infant needs to see a doctor. These include:
Always look for physical signs that something is wrong with an infant’s vision. There are also certain ages where infants should be hitting specific milestones. If something seems off with their vision, don’t ignore that feeling. Every child should have their vision development checked by an eye doctor within the first year of life. Simply visiting the eye doctor and monitoring your child can give them the best chance for their vision development to happen properly. If you have an infant that hasn’t had their eyes checked, call Peeper’s Optical today at (303) 333-2800!