It takes years for normal vision to develop, although most of that development occurs in the first year. Although infants are not born with full visual ability, they will acquire proper focus, tracking, color perception and depth perception. After nine years of age, the visual system should be fully developed.
Birth: At birth, an infant sees only black and white and shades of grey. Nerve cells in the retina have yet to develop.
First Month: For an infant aged 1 month, eyes are not very sensitive to light, with the light detection threshold 50 times higher than that of an adult. Infants as young as a week will start to see colors like red, orange and yellow, although it takes a little longer to see blue and violet light.
Months 2 to 3: Infants develop greater visual acuity, following moving objects while learning to reach for what he or she sees. Eyes become more sensitive to light, however, the light detection threshold is 10 times that of an adult.
Months 4 to 6: Infants learn to move their eyes more quickly, and can more accurately follow moving objects. Color vision should be similar to that of an adult. Six months is a significant milestone since it’s when a child typically gets his or her first comprehensive eye exam, to assess visual acuity and alignment, as well as any developmental concerns like the misalignment of the eyes. Such misalignment, if left untreated, can lead to amblyopia, or ‘lazy eye’.
Months 7-12. Infants are judging distance more accurately and are better able to coordinate vision with body movement as they learn to walk.
Because eye and vision problems in infants can cause developmental delays, it’s important to detect problems early. Watch for signs of problems and seek professional eye care to address any concerns. Signs of vision problems include excessive tearing, red eyelids, constant eye turning, extreme sensitivity to light and the appearance of a white pupil.
To discuss whether your child is developing normal vision, or to schedule a vision assessment, you can reach our eye care specialists at 877-871-1684.
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