Your child’s vision development

Assist in making sure your baby’s vision develops properly.

One way to encourage your baby's vision is to provide a visually stimulating environment. Photo credit: Pixabay.

One way to encourage your baby's vision is to provide a visually stimulating environment. Photo credit: Pixabay.

Eighty percent of what a child learns begins with what they see.  How a baby’s brain processes what it sees directly affects how they learns language, motor, intellectual and social skills.  From birth to about two years old, is a critical period for the environment to contribute to the development of normal vision.  During this time the visual center of the brain becomes designated for seeing images from one eye to the other. 

Before your baby is born they can blink and responds to bright lights shown through the womb.  At birth, babies see best eight to 15 inches away, prefer to look at faces and can see bright contrasting colors better than soft colors.

By one year, many of your child’s visual skills have developed.  They should be using both eyes together and sees things at various distances.  According to Michigan State University Extension, babies should also be able to see things in three dimensions and have eye and hand coordination. 

There are many things you can do at home to encourage your baby’s vision and help them develop successfully.  The first thing you can do is to provide a visually stimulating environment.  Place books, pictures or objects that are bright with contrasting colors, or with simple and linear patterns in places that your baby sees.  Put a mobile over their bed or put them on the floor around their tummy time area. 

Tracking a moving object visually improves the coordination of the small muscles that control eye movement, and helps both eyes move and focus together; the vision centers in the brain can put together images from both eyes.  You can practice tracking at home by simply taking a mirror or toy and slowly moving it in a curve from one side to the other and up and down.  Hold the mirror or toy about eight to 10 inches away from their face. 

The American Optometric Associations is a great resource to learn more about your baby’s vision. However, if you feel your baby’s eyes are not moving correctly or you feel they may not be seeing correctly, contact your pediatrician.

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