What Do Babies See? – Kelowna Optometrist
It’s a moment you’ll never forget, the first time you and your new baby look into each others’ eyes for the first time. You’ll notice every detail about them, but have you ever wondered what your child is seeing when they gaze back at you? You may be surprised to learn that what they see is, well, blur!
That is, unless you are within about a foot of their face. But even at that distance, the image they see isn’t perfectly clear, and it’s mostly in black and white. All the physical structures of the eye are present, but good vision is a learned process that will take many months to complete. Not only does each eye need to establish a good connection to the visual cortex near the back of the brain, but the eyes also need to learn how to work together.
So When Does a Baby See Clearly?
During the first month vision will still be quite blurry and dim. The child’s ability to detect light is still developing, so their world is like living in a poorly lit room. Around month two to three your child should be learning to shift their gaze from one object to another without moving their head. This won’t be well-coordinated at first, but the eyes are beginning to work together as a team. Around month four, color vision starts to develop, as well as hand-eye coordination. This is also the time when a child should show proper eye alignment.
By five months the development of tracking a moving object is about 75% complete, and will finish around age nine months. This will also be the time when depth perception can be measured clinically. Finally, around 12 months age the vision should be around 20/50, which for an adult would just meet the minimum threshold for ability to drive a vehicle.
How Can You Help Encourage Normal Visual Development for Your Child?
The first step would be to engage in normal play-time activities with your child. This helps promote sensory develop, not only visually, but hearing and motor skills as well. You can find a list of ideas here: ( https://pathways.org/growth-development/baby/games/ ). Second, getting your child’s eyes examined by an optometrist can help rule out any barriers to proper visual development. Common eye problems in children can include high prescriptions, an imbalanced prescription in right versus left eye, eye misalignments, and anatomical defects. If any barriers exist, prompt initiation of treatment can significantly reduce the likelihood your child doesn’t develop normal vision.
In British Columbia, annual eye exams in kids are covered by their BC Services Card through age 18. At Orchard Park Optometry, we don’t want their to be any barriers to getting your child’s eyes examined, especially during the critical developmental periods, so we do not charge any co-pay for these appointments. Call our office any time to book your child in for an appointment with one of our experienced eye doctors.