A Baby's Eyes
What Can A Baby See?

Most babies are born with normal, healthy
eyes. But all the areas of the eyes and brain
responsible for seeing aren't developed fully
at birth. However, during the first year of
life, vision improves rapidly.

Every baby grows at his or her own pace.
The following are some general
vision
development milestones
achieved
during the first 12 months of life.
Birth to one month

Visual acuity, or the ability to see clearly, is about
20/200 at birth. If they could read, newborns could just see the
big "E" on an eye chart. They're not able to see objects clearly
more than 8 to 10 inches from their faces.

Newborns also have poor control over their eye focusing and
have difficulty adjusting to see clearly up close.

A baby's eyes don't always work together well. As a result, one
eye may occasionally drift inward or outward.

Because their eyes are not yet working as a team, newborns
lack depth perception and the ability to see in three dimensions.

The light sensitive lining at the back of the eye, the retina,
which is responsible for color perception, is not fully developed.
Therefore, color vision is poor. Babies at this age are more
attracted to objects with high contrast and patterns of black and
white.

Two to three months

By two months of age, visual acuity has improved to about
20/120.

Babies are beginning to see more subtle shadings and patterns.

Eye coordination is improving. Your baby should be able to
follow a moving object with his/her eyes, if it is not moving too
fast.

Babies are now able to focus and pay attention to the face of a
parent or other person near them.

Your baby will start reaching for things he/she sees.

Four to six months

Visual acuity is approximately 20/60.

Your baby can now see all colors, although color vision is not as
sensitive as an adults.

He/she will turn his/her head to look at bright colors and lights.

Your baby should recognize objects that he/she has seen and
played with before.

Babies can now see a three-dimensional view of the world.
This allows them to reach and grasp for a finger or rattle, clap
hands, or transfer objects from one hand to another.

Seven to twelve months

Visual acuity is now about 20/30. However, it will take another
year or two for visual acuity to reach normal adult levels of
20/20.

Your baby is now better able to judge distances.

Hand-eye coordination skills are developing, which allow your
baby to grasp and throw objects.
As babies grow, it is important they learn how to focus, move, and
use their eyes together as a team. Babies must also learn how to
use the visual information the eyes send to their brains to be able
to understand and interact with the world around them.

Even before they learn to reach and grab with their hands or crawl
and sit-up, babies are exploring the world with their eyes. And
they need a variety of activities to develop the visual skills they
will use the rest of their lives.

Parents can take steps to help promote the development of
healthy eyes and good vision including:
Watching for signs of eye and vision problems.

Seeking professional eye care starting with the first
comprehensive vision assessment
at about 6 months of age.

Helping your child develop his or her vision, by engaging in
visually stimulating activities and providing
age-appropriate toys and games.
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Vision Topics