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Edmonds, WA 98020

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Home » Eye Library » Children’s Vision » Your Infant’s Visual Development

Your Infant’s Visual Development

Your baby’s visual system is not fully developed at birth and continues to develop gradually over the first days and months of life. In fact, from your baby’s perspective at birth, the world is black and white, blurry and rather flat. As the days and months go on, they begin to focus, move their eyes and start to see the world around them. While each child will grow and develop on his or her own schedule, knowing an infant’s vision milestones will help you ensure that your infant is on track to achieving good vision and eye health and start treatment early if there is a problem.

Birth – 3 months

Because newborn babies’ eyes and visual system are underdeveloped, they can not focus their eyes on close objects or perceive depth or color. Babies need to learn to move, focus and coordinate eye movements to team the eyes (have them move together as a team). The brain also needs to learn how to process the visual information from the eyes to understand and interact with the world. In fact, until about 3 months, the optimal distance a baby can focus on is about 8 – 10 inches from their face, about the distance their parents face will be during feeding.

Your baby will start to be able to perceive color within the first 2-3 weeks, however it will take a few months to learn how to focus and use the eyes, to track objects, differentiate between two objects and shift from one object to the other. During this time you may notice that the eyes appear crossed and do not work together or team. This is quite common at the early stages of development, however if one eye appears to be constantly turned in or out, seek a doctor’s evaluation.

At around three months, as hand-eye coordination begins to develop, a baby should be able to follow a moving target with their eyes and reach for objects.

4-6 Months

By 6 months, your baby will begin to move his eyes with more speed and accuracy, seeing at farther distances and focusing well. Color vision should be fully developed and the eyes should be able to work as a team and follow moving objects with relative ease. Hand-eye coordination and depth perception should be greatly improved as your baby will begin to understand the 3-dimensional world around them.

At six months, you should take your baby for his or her first comprehensive eye exam to ensure that the eyes are developing on track and there are no signs of congenital or infant eye disease.

7-12 Months

At this stage of development babies will be coordinating vision and body movements by crawling, grasping, standing and exploring the surrounding world. They should be able judge distances accurately, throw a ball toward a target and pick up a small object with their fingers. Delays in motor development can sometimes indicate a vision problem.

The First Eye Exam

While at 6 months, your baby will not be able to read an eye chart, eye doctors can perform an infant eye exam through non-verbal testing to assess visual acuity (for nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism), eye teaming abilities and eye alignment. The eye doctor will also be able to see inside the eye for any signs of disease or problems that could affect eye or vision health.

InfantSEE®

InfantSEE® is a public health program in which participating optometrists provide a free comprehensive infant eye exam to babies between 6 and 12 months of age. The program was initiated to provide accessible eye and vision care for infants to ensure they have the best chances for normal development and quality of life.

If your child has any unusual symptoms such as excessive tearing, constant eye misalignment, red or crusty eyes or extreme light sensitivity consult an eye doctor as soon as possible.

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Updated Covid-19 Policies as of 05/21/2021

As COVID-19 information continues to change through updates from the CDC and the State of Washington Health Department, we feel a need to maintain a safety structure for those patients who have not been vaccinated as well as those that have. Because we are a medical office, we feel there is a strong need to ensure that everyone feels safe in this environment.

In an effort to maintain social distancing and patient safety, we ask the following:

*Please do not bring any family or friends with you during your appointment.

*If you need a driver, we ask that they wait in your vehicle or enjoy downtown shopping.

*For pediatric exams, we ask only one parent to come with the child or children if scheduled at similar times.

*Please advise us of any schedule changes as soon as possible. If you need to cancel, please do so with 24 business hours.

*Optos retinal scans are highly recommended at this time. This allows us to evaluate your ocular health with more distance. Dilation drops may not be needed at your visit when using this technology. Please consider this elective service for your next comprehensive exam.

*Eyewear visits in the optical department are currently by appointment only. This is to maintain distance and allow for proper cleaning between patients. Our skilled opticians will bring you eyewear to fit your style, desires and needs. We ask that you do not browse on your own.

*Feel comfortable trying on the frames the opticians bring you as each frame has been thoroughly cleaned.

*Safety comes first! Patients and staff will be required to wear masks. Screening for illness including temperature checks and verbal health questions will be maintained at this time.

*Appointed times keep us on schedule. Please fill out your paperwork online with the assistance of IntakeQ prior to your visit. Call us when you are at the door and we can get started!

Our mission at Edmonds Vision Center is to provide the highest standard of care to individuals of all ages, with the latest technology and outstanding customer service. You and your entire family are welcome at Edmonds Vision Center. We value your eye health!