In the News
Vision is Key to Infant Development
For the first six to eight weeks, babies' eyes don't always track
together -and that's normal. The American Optometric
Association (AOA) advises that parents should only be
concerned if the eyes never track together.
During the first four months, an infant should begin to follow moving
objects with his or her eyes and start reaching for things.
Between months eight and 12, babies are using both eyes together to
judge distance and to grasp and throw objects with greater precision.
Crawling is important for developing the eye-hand-foot-body
coordination he'll need for normal movement for the rest of his life.
To check visual development or address problems that parents
have observed, a baby's eyes should be examined before his
first birthday. As part of a nationwide public health program,
parents can bring their infant to a participating optometrist for
a no-cost eye and vision assessment.
"Many eye and vision conditions don't have symptoms that can
be easily identified by a parent or in a well-baby checkup," said
Dr. Peter Kehoe, president of the AOA and an InfantSEE
program provider. "An infant should have her first eye health
and vision assessment between 6 and 12 months of age. Early
detection is the best way to make sure that a child has healthy
eyes and appropriate vision development."
Although vision and eye health problems aren't common, it's
important to identify children who have specific risk factors
early so that any issues can be addressed before they
negatively affect a child's overall development and quality of
"The good news about a trip to the optometrist is that most
babies seem to enjoy the 'games' we use to determine whether
their visual development is progressing normally and their eyes
are healthy," said Dr. Kehoe. Parents can hold their infant
during the assessment while the optometrist tests for visual
acuity, eye teaming and overall eye health.
To find a participating doctor, visit the program's web site at
Parents need to be knowledgeable about how to evaluate their infant's
That's because it's estimated that one in 10 children is at risk from an
undiagnosed eye or vision problem that, if left untreated, can lead to
difficulties later in school or even permanent vision loss.
Knowing whether a baby's vision is maturing on schedule can be
confusing, so parents should be aware of some basic signs of normal
InfantSEE®, a public health program
organized by the American Optometric
Association, provides a comprehensive
infant eye assessment within the first
year of life at no cost to parents.
Over 7,000 doctors of optometry
throughout the U.S. have volunteered
their services for this program.
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