Babies develop quite a lot in the first year of life. From physical growth to mental development, they push through growth spurt after growth spurt at a speed that is never matched for the rest of their lives. Vision is one part of this race to grow quickly; babies can barely see at birth and by six months can see quite clearly!
So how does your baby’s vision develop? When your baby is born, he sees a big fuzzy world. There are no clear lines, and your baby sees mainly dark and light; shades of color cannot be differentiated. Your baby will be drawn to contrasts as a result; your eyes have high contrast and will become one of your baby’s favorite things to stare at. The range that he will see clearest at is about 8-14 inches, which appropriately happens to also be about the range from his face to yours while nursing or bottle feeding.
During the first couple months, your baby’s eyes will learn to work together. During this stage, you may notice your baby’s eyes crossed or an eye wandering, but this is normal for the first two months. If your baby’s eyes still wander or are crossed after about 3-4 months, you ought to have him checked for any visual or muscular problems.
As your baby’s eyes learn to work together more, his focus will improve, and he will be able to see you and other things clearer. His depth perception will also improve, so that at around 4 months, he will be able to try swiping at toys with his hand and manage the distance to the toys fairly well. He will also be able to easily watch moving objects.
By five months, your baby will be able to distinguish well between different colors. He will also be improving his ability to spot small items. By eight months, your baby’s vision will be much like your own. He will be able to see across the room, and his hand-eye coordination will be in full bloom, especially as he learns to crawl. It has been found that the more a baby crawls, the better his hand-eye coordination, so encourage your baby to crawl often and try not to teach him how to walk too soon!
Baby Vision Assessment
Don’t forget to take your baby in for his first vision assessment between 6 and 12 months. This will help identify any early vision problems and allow you and your eye doctor to take steps to treat or prevent them! Uptown Eye Care offers free baby vision assessments as part of the InfantSEE program.