On June 26th, my wife and I became proud new parents to a baby girl, Brooklyn! This inspired me to write an article and share information on infant vision and eye health.
Babies are born farsighted and need to be within a normal range in order to learn how to see optimally. Eye health and vision issues can result in developmental delays in infants. During the first few months of life, babies are learning how to focus, use their eyes together, and process information. Until they are able to learn these skills their visual clarity is poor. It is common for babies to have an occasional eye turn during the first couple months as they are learning to coordinate their eye muscles.
1-3 months: Babies are able to follow objects with their eyes and reach for objects
4-8 months: Development of colour vision, depth perception (accurately grab objects), and distance vision (smile at parent across the room)
9-12 months: Iris colour is nearly finalized and baby has visual awareness when walking or crawling
Parents can help with vision development in their little ones. During the first three months it is important to have a nightlight in the room and have interesting objects (e.g. faces, mobiles, toys) within 8-12 inches of the baby while they are awake. Babies focus best at this distance during the first few months. As your baby becomes older (6-12 months) it is important to encourage crawling as it helps develop hand-eye coordination and playing with blocks of different shapes and textures for fine motor and depth perception development.
Signs to watch out for:
If you notice any of these signs please book an eye exam right away. Otherwise, The Canadian Association of Optometrists recommend infants have their first eye exam between 6-9 months. During this examination, optometrists test eye movements, glasses prescription, and eye health. At Nuvue Optometry children’s eye exams are fully covered with their BC care card up to age 9. We are also a part of the Eye See Eye Learn program, which provides a complimentary pair of glasses to children under age 5. We hope to see your little ones for their first eye exam at Nuvue Optometry.
If you have any questions or would like to book a consultation, please call our friendly office anytime.Dr Devin W Almond, BSc, OD