When it comes to newborn babies, beginning to see properly is just a matter of learning how. A child initially does not see in color. Rather, his or her world appears in black and white, and shades of gray. The ability to see in color will only develop at four months of age. A baby can also only focus on objects within eight inches to one foot. As time progresses, a baby slowly begins to learn to focus on objects further away. eventually focusing on faces and then moving out to objects of interest, like brightly colored toys. “By eight to twelve weeks, a baby can start following people or objects with his or her eyes.” adds Dr. Matthew Hendrickson of Clarity Eye Care in Lombard, Illinois.
Dr. Hendrickson relates, “Many parents are worried that their two or three month old seems not to be coordinated, because their child's eyes seem not to move together. The truth is that this is perfectly normal. It usually takes about four or five months before a baby begins to master the the fine art of coordinating his or her eyes.” By the end of the fifth month your baby should have learned to use both eyes together to interpret his or her surroundings, facilitating binocular fusion, the process by which the brain takes the two slightly different images sent to it by each eye and translates them into one unified, interpreted image. From here, your child will continue to fine tune depth perception and spatial skills to more easily navigate and interact with the world.
Between six and twelve months, your baby will become increasingly mobile, requiring a new set of skills, such as judging distance accurately, which is important to keep from bumping into things as he or she moves around.
Eyesight will continue to develop even into your child's pre-school years. It is very important to continue development of hand-eye and hand-body coordination, eye teaming, and depth perception for toddlers. Playing games that involve stacking blocks or rolling a ball can be a great way to have fun and help your child learn to user his or her eyes at the same time!
Regular comprehensive eye exams are essential at all stages of development to be sure that your child's vision is developing as it should and to diagnose any eye conditions that may be affecting your child. Eye conditions such as strabismus and amblyopia can be corrected easily if caught early in your child's life, but can do a great deal of very serious damage that if left undiagnosed and untreated for too long. An eye doctor will also check your child's ability to perform certain visual tasks that are essential for learning, such as eye movement skills, peripheral awareness and depth perception, and whether your child needs vision correction for nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism.
For more information, speak to Dr. Hendrickson today.