Throughout the first year of life, as your child grows and develops, so will their vision. Your baby’s eyes are checked shortly after birth and during well-baby visits throughout the first year. All babies should receive an infant eye health examination by six months of age.
Babies usually see movement first. Full term babies should be able to see their mother’s facial expressions within a week of birth. Color vision and depth perception aren’t yet fully developed and eye muscle coordination is also very immature. Babies often have eyes that are turned in, turned out, or not working as a team, a condition referred to as strabismus. If this condition does not resolve itself by the age of three or four months, please contact us, or set up an appointment.
Between the ages of four and six months, your child should start to reach or bat at toys you hold in front of him. From six to twelve months, your child maybe crawling and walking; encourage crawling rather than early walking to help your child develop eye-hand coordination. Parents should pay attention to how their child’s eyes move and fixate on and object. If you notice anything of concern to you, please contact us, or set up and appointment.
From ages three to six, your child will be fine tuning the vision already developed during the infant and toddler years. Older preschoolers are learning how to use sports equipment (catching a ball) and working on the fine motor skills need to write their names (coloring). Watch for the warning signs of visual problems, such as sitting too close to the television or holding a book too close, squinting, head tilting, eye rubbing, and sensitivity to light. Farsightedness and strabismus are common conditions with this age group. However, some conditions might not have clear signs and symptoms and can only be detected by your eye health care professional.
If your child does not exhibit any symptoms of a visual condition, the first regular eye health examination should occur around the age of three. Another complete eye health examination should take place before your child enters school, which allows time to catch and correct any conditions while the visual system is still flexible.
School-age children should receive an eye health examination before entering kindergarten and on a regular basis throughout their school years. If your child requires vision correction for refractive errors, schedule an eye health check-up yearly. A vision screening performed by your pediatrician or school nurse is not a complete eye health examination; these screenings are designed to alert parents to a potential problem and do not take the place of a regular eye health check-up. Undetected vision problems can lead to difficulties in school, such as reading, learning, and behavioral difficulties.
Warning signs of poor vision:
1. Squinting, closing or covering one eye, excessive blinking or rubbing
2. Dislike/avoidance of close work, short attention span, frequent daydreaming
3. Placing head close to book, losing place while reading
4. Complaints of headache, nausea, dizziness, excessive clumsiness
5. Turning or tilting the head to one side.