Human development is truly a magical thing. Experiencing my children grow inside me and then witnessing them transform from tiny newborns to infants discovering the world around them in wonder has been truly soul-stirring and continues to astound me every day. The development of the eyes and visual processing is fascinating because babies actually learn how to see just like they learn how to crawl and eat solid foods. Their eyes and visual systems go through radical changes throughout the first few years of life. It is incredible how the development occurs like a graduated plan, allowing for the vision that is necessary through their early stages of life. Below are a few fun facts to provide perspective on babies’ sight and how they learn to use those eyes.
1. Newborns can only focus on objects about 8-10 inches from their face, and we know they are only able to see black, white and gray, eventually developing color vision starting with the color red (the longest wavelength of visible light) at about 4 months old.
2. Babies’ eyes don’t know how to work as a team right away. This coordinated effort is learned and begins to sort itself out by 2-3 months of age. If your baby’s eye drift is constant, your baby should see an eye care professional.
3. Babies should be able to follow moving targets and begin to reach for objects at about 4 months of age as their eye-hand coordination learns to develop.
4. Your baby’s eye color depends on how much melanin is within their iris, which is based on genetics. Babies may be born with blue or lighter eyes because there is not much melanin produced when a baby is in the womb. After birth, light actually stimulates the production of more melanin and eyes usually darken. So blue eyes don’t contain blue pigment, they just have less melanin than green and brown eyes.
5. By 6 months of age, a baby’s visual acuity is around 20/100 and doesn’t reach the potential for 20/20 vision (the “normal” visual acuity your eye doctor checks for and tries to correct to) until around 3 or 4 years old.
If you enjoyed this post, check out my post- Don’t Make These 5 Mistakes With Your Contact Lenses.
Fine Print: Guys, I am a licensed optometrist, but this post was not written to substitute for a face-to-face examination and diagnosis by another licensed eye care provider. This post was written to be solely for informational purposes. If you think you have an eye emergency, please call your eye doctor or go to an emergency room. You can read my disclaimer more thoroughly here.