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Baby's Eyesight Development Milestones

Updated on October 4, 2010

Your baby has so much to see and learn. Most of your baby's early vision development is in your hands. The ability to see well is a critical thing to learn as the baby will use the eyes to take in massive amounts of information about the world around her, which in turn will stimulate her brain development and lead to physical accomplishments such as sitting, rolling over, crawling, and walking. A baby's eyesight directly impacts upon many aspects of his or her life, including physical, mental and emotional development.

During the first weeks of life your newborn may seem to do little more than eat, sleep, cry, and provide dirty diapers for you to clean up. But in reality, all of your infant's senses are functioning already, taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of this new world. Babies are born with eyes that are ready to function immediately unless she has a vision impairment. Even premature babies can see at birth since the seeing elements of the eye are working by seven months of gestation. The body of a newborn may be small but its eyes are 70 percent of adult size. You should look for the baby's vision milestones listed below every 3 months.

Your role plays a major role in baby's eyesight development and begins even before birth with proper prenatal care and nutrition. At birth, be sure your baby's eyes are examined for signs of eye health and congenital eye problems. Though these are rare, early diagnosis and treatment are important to your child's development.

Baby's eyesight development
Baby's eyesight development

Unless you notice a need, your child's first visit to a doctor of optometry for a thorough vision examination should be by age three. Be alert, for symptoms that may indicate a need for earlier professional care.

Symptoms include:

  • eye turning inward, outward, upward or downward frequently or for long periods favoring one eye
  • a tendency to bump into objects on one side
  • reddened eyes or lids
  • excessive tearing
  • encrusted eyelids
  • frequent styes

If you notice any of the above symptoms, seek help froma doctor of optometry skilled in infant baby's vision care. You can consult with your state optometric association or local optometric society to find one. Modern technology makes it possible to examine and treat infants even under six months of age.

Your baby's vision development

Your baby will spend much of his or her first three years learning how to see. The many different vision skills developed at this stage will serve your child throughout life. There are many ways you can help to achieve these vision milestones.

The first four months of your baby

Your newborn baby sees a blurred world of light and dark patterns. Within the first four months, however, baby should begin to follow moving objects with the eyes and to reach for things, first by chance, and later more accurately, as hand-eye coordination and depth perception start to develop.

Things you can do to improve your baby eyesight development at this stage are:

  • Use a nightlight or other dim lamp in your baby's room
  • Change the crib's position and your baby's position in the crib
  • Hang a mobile outside and above the crib
  • Keep reach and touch objects within your baby's focus, about eight to twelve inches. Toys should be large enough not to be swallowed.
  • Talk to your baby as you walk around the room, giving the baby a target to follow
  • Alternate right and left sides with each feeding

Baby's eyesight development during Four to Six months

Your baby should now begin to turn from side to side and use his or her arms and legs. Eye movement control and eye/body coordination skills should develop further.

Things you can do to improve your baby eyesight development at this stage are:

  • Allow your baby to explore different textures and shapes with his or her fingers
  • Hang objects across the crib to foster eye hand foot coordination
  • Play "patty cake" with your baby

Baby's eyesight development during Six to Eight months

Both eyes of your baby should focus equally at this stage.

Things you can do to improve your baby eyesight development at this stage are:

  • Allow your child freedom to crawl and explore
  • Play "peek-a-boo" with toys and faces
  • Provide stuffed animals and other objects with details
  • Have older children play in the same room. Your baby will imitate them with the limits of his or her own development
  • Don't forget to read to your baby, sing him songs, and play games with him on a daily basis. He will love this, and it will help to stimulate his intellectual growth. You are also helping him to develop his language skills, too!

Baby's eyesight development during Eight to Twelve months

Your baby should be mobile now, crawling and pulling himself or herself up. Your baby will begin to use both eyes together to judge distances and can grasp and throw objects with greater precision.

Things you can do to improve your baby eyesight development at this stage are:

  • Do not encourage early walking. Crawling is important in developing eye-hand-foot-body coordination.
  • Give your baby stacking and take apart toys
  • Provide objects your baby can touch, hold and see at the same time

Vision development
Vision development
Big eyes are cute
Big eyes are cute

Baby's eyesight development during One to Two years

Your baby's eye-hand coordination and depth perception should become well developed and he or she will begin to understand abstract terms.

Things you can do to improve your baby eyesight development at this stage are:

  • Encourage walking
  • Help your baby play with building blocks, simple puzzles and balls
  • Provide opportunities to climb and explore indoors and out
  • Provide a rocking horse or riding toys pushed with the feet to help develop eye-hand-foot coordination

Give your baby plenty of hugs and kisses - always!

Baby's eyesight development during One to Two years

Your two year old will become more interested in exploring his or her environment and in looking and listening.

Things you can do to improve your baby eyesight development at this stage are:

  • Read or tell your toddler stories to prepare for learning to read
  • Provide tools for drawing, painting and coloring
  • Allow time for outdoor activities

There is more you can do for your baby's vision development. There are many other affectionate and loving ways in which you can aid your baby's eyesight development and prepare him or her for the seeing tasks that lie ahead. Use your creativity and imagination. Ask your doctor of optometry to suggest other specific activities.

Vitamin A is key to both infant eyesight and vision development over the years. Between the ages of 0-3, your baby needs a nutritious meal containing plenty of Vitamin A. This is true as the baby grows older too. If your baby has light-colored eyes, use UV-coated protection while taking the baby outdoors.

Visit Go To Baby site for some unique and beautiful baby items for your amazing baby.


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    • Manju Modiyani profile image

      Manju Modiyani 5 years ago from India

      Oh! I didn't know it would be such a complex task for a baby! I got an insight as to what to do and what not to do! A beautiful and useful post.I can use this information in my future....thanks a lot for sharing :)

    • profile image

      kay 6 years ago

      are flash cameras a problem for early eye development, especially from close range?

    • profile image

      pamelaclanncarr 6 years ago

      good article

    • ellahall2011 profile image

      ellahall2011 6 years ago

      Thanks for this hub.

    • profile image

      Bathing your child 7 years ago

      I agree with you.thanks for the nice information.I can use this type of information in my future process.keep sharing.

    • profile image

      New born baby sleep 7 years ago

      Wow!!Very nice information...Many informative ideas are here...Thanks for the great Post..Keep Sharing...

    • profile image

      Lynda 7 years ago

      Absolutely superb post... No doubt that our human eyes are among the most precious instrument that one can't live without and be normal... Great read and learned from it!

    • profile image

      Baby's Walking Stage  7 years ago

      Great Post..I agree with this nice Post.This will give lot of ideas to share here...Keep Sharing

    • profile image

      Jen 9 years ago

      Big eyes can be indicative of a problem! Congenital glaucoma can present as "big eyes" or buphthalmos.