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Stages of Baby Vision Development

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A child’s vision rapidly develops during the first 12-24 months of their life. At birth, babies cannot see as well as older children or adults since their eyes and visual systems are not fully developed. As you think about your child’s vision and development, consider these milestones as a guideline… but, remember, every child is different and will show corresponding progress.

Birth to Four Months

Until about three months of age, a baby’s eyes are not able to focus on anything more than 8-10 inches from their face. During this time it is difficult for a baby’s eyes to tell the difference between two objects or move their eyes from one object to the next and back.

During the first four months of vision development a baby’s eyes will begin to work together, leading to rapid improvements in vision. Since both eyes had not been ‘working together’ previously, it is normal for a baby to appear to be cross-eyed or have a wandering eye.

Eye-hand coordination starts to develop as babies can begin tracking moving objects, and it is normal to see a baby start reaching for objects and things close to them around three to four months of age.

Five to Eight Months

Control of eye movements and hand-eye coordination will continue to develop. While depth perception is not present at birth, after month four when the eyes begin to work together, babies will form a three-dimensional view of the world and begin to develop a sense of depth.

Most babies will be crawling by eight months, which drastically helps to improve eye-body coordination. According to some childhood development specialists, babies that learn to walk at an early age and spend minimal time crawling may not learn to use their eyes together as well as babies with longer crawling periods.

It is generally accepted that by five months a baby will have sufficient enough color-detection to differentiate colors between objects.

Nine to Twelve Months

Most babies will have started to use their eyes and hands together by the time they reach this age. Around nine months you should notice your baby pulling themselves to a standing position, and by ten months you should notice him/her reaching for and grasping objects with thumb and forefinger. Babies can not judge distances fairly well.

Most parents encourage their babies to start walking at an early age. TheĀ American Optometric Association association, however, encourages that you let your baby crawl for a longer period to develop better eye-hand coordination.

One to Two Years

A child’s eye-hand coordination and depth perception should be well developed. Children at this age are highly interested in exploring their environment, looking, and listening. They recognize familiar objects and are beginning to scribble.