My wife and I recently became new grandparents. Our oldest son and his wife are amazing new parents to our grandson. As I was holding this perfect little baby for the first time, I was trying to remember from my old textbooks… What can he actually see?
The visual system of a newborn infant takes time to develop. In the first week of life, newborns don’t see much detail. While their first view of the world is indistinct and only in shades of grey, infants start to see colors very quickly. At one week after birth, they see red, orange, yellow and green. It takes a little longer to see blue and violet.
Several months are required for your child’s vision to develop fully.
For example, a newborn infant’s eyes don’t have the ability to accommodate (focus on near objects). Do not become concerned if your baby doesn’t seem to be focusing on objects, including your face, It just takes time for their eyes to develop to the point they are able to focus at near. Even so, studies show that within a few days after birth, infants prefer looking at an image of their mother’s face to that of a stranger.
Don’t be too concerned if your baby’s eyes sometimes don’t appear to be working together.
One eye may occasionally drift inward from proper alignment. This is normal. But if you see a large and constant misalignment of their eye, notify your eye care practitioner right away.
Many advances in vision development take place rapidly in the first three months.
Infants develop sharper visual acuity during this period, and their eyes are beginning to move better as a team. Your child should begin following moving objects and starting to reach for things that he sees, shifting their eyes without moving their heads.
By 6 months of age, significant advances have taken place in the vision centers of the brain.
These allow your infant to see more distinctly and move his eyes quicker and more accurately to follow moving objects. Acuity improves from 20/400 at birth to approximately 20/25 at 6 months. Our grandchild can now see all colors of the rainbow. Eye-hand coordination is greatly improved, allowing him to quickly locate objects and put them in his mouth!
Six months is the recommended age for your child’s first eye exam.
At this exam, your eye care practitioner will check the health of your baby’s eyes and look for anything that might interfere with normal and continuing vision development. If your pediatrician has any concerns, your child may be referred to a pediatric ophthalmologist for a sensorimotor vision analysis.
We are excited to welcome our new grandson and watch him grow and develop as he discovers the visual wonders of our amazing world!