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Parent’s Guide To Newborn Vision Development

Thursday, April 6, 2017 @ 03:04 AM
Author: Amit Mathur

Having a healthy newborn child can be the happiest and most fulfilling moment of your life, but soon after that many new parents start to worry about their baby’s development and health. Since the baby can’t speak or think for itself yet, it can be difficult to know what’s normal and what isn’t. We wrote this guide to help you be aware of the major milestones and things to look for in the development of your newborn’s vision.

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After Birth

After being born, your baby sees everything in grey and cannot see any color yet because the cells in their eyes and their brains are not finished developing. They’re also unable to focus on near objects, which includes your face. So if it looks like they aren’t focusing on anything at this stage you don’t need to worry, they aren’t supposed to yet.

You might also notice that their eyes look very large, but that’s only because a baby’s head is more developed so the eyes will look big relative to the rest of their body. The doctor will conduct a quick examination of your baby’s eyes for signs of congenital cataracts or other eye problems and apply an ointment to prevent any infection caused by bacteria in the birth canal.

First Month

In the first month of your newborn’s life, their eyes are not nearly as able to detect light as a fully developed adult. This means you can leave some lights on while they sleep and it will not affect them. Within a week of their new life on earth they will start developing the ability to see some colors — red, green, yellow and orange. It will take them a bit longer to see other colors. At this stage they might also appear to be cross-eyed, but this is also normal as long as it is only sometimes. If they look to be cross-eyed for a long period of time with constant frequency, you should take your baby to an eye doctor quickly.

Second & Third Months

Most of a newborn’s vision development takes place in the second and third months of their lives. They will quickly start to use their eyes together so they can focus on objects, even as they move. They’re also able to better move their focus from object to object without having to completely move their head and body. At this point they’ll also be able to see light so you should start dimming the lights more for them to sleep. Eyecare professionals recommend that you stimulate their vision by changing the objects in their crib frequently to give them new things to focus on.

Four to Six Months

From the start of the fourth to the end of the sixth month, your baby will develop the ability to see all colors, more details in objects, and to better track fast moving objects. They’ll also start to significantly develop their hand-eye coordination, which means now is the time you’ll see your baby picking up everything they can get their hands on and putting them in their mouth! By the end of six months, you should also take your child to have their first eye exam so an eye doctor can test their basic vision functions such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, eye coordination, and eye alignment.

Seven to Twelve Months

At this point you might see the color of your baby’s eyes change, but this is completely normal. It is most common for a baby’s eye color to turn darker, as the darker colors take more time to develop than lighter colors. By now your baby will be crawling around, which means they can act according to what they see. They can start accurately focusing on objects and surfaces of all distances, which means they can start interacting with everything you don’t want them to! If you want to encourage their hand-eye coordination development, you can get down on your hands and knees and crawl around with them. They’ll follow and interact with things that you do, which teaches them to look at and touch things they see you do.

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