Has your child had an eye exam?
Vision is arguably the most important of the five senses. It plays a crucial role throughout childhood and beyond. Yet many parents don’t understand how vision helps their children develop appropriately.
Visit us at Dr Gallo & Associates to proactively care for your child’s eyes, spot potential trouble, and maximize the opportunity for crisp, convenient and healthy vision.
When is it time for an eye exam?
If you suspect something is seriously wrong with your baby’s eyes in their first few months of life (a bulging eye, a red eye, excess tearing, or a constant misalignment of the eyes, for example) take your child to a pediatric ophthalmologist or other doctor immediately.
For routine eye care, the Canadian Association of Optometrists (CAO) recommends you schedule your baby’s first eye exam when they are six months old. Though your baby cannot yet read letters on a wall chart, our optometrists can perform non-verbal testing to determine visual acuity, detect excessive or unequal amounts of nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism and evaluate eye teaming and alignment. At this exam, our optometrists will also check the health of your baby’s eyes, looking for anything that might interfere with normal and continuing vision development.
There’s so much for your little one to see and experience during their first years, and having clear vision will help them during their development.
Your Infant’s Visual Development
One of the greatest moments after the birth of your baby is the first time your newborn daughter or son opens their eyes and makes eye contact with you. But do not be concerned if that does not happen right away.
The visual system of a newborn infant takes some time to develop. In the first week of life, your newborn’s vision is quite blurry, and they see only in shades of gray. It takes several months for your child’s vision to fully develop.
Knowing the expected milestones of your baby’s vision development during their first year of life can insure your child is seeing properly and enjoying their world to the fullest.
During Your Pregnancy
Be sure to follow the instructions your obstetrician gives you regarding proper nutrition and the proper amount of rest during your pregnancy. And of course, avoid smoking and consuming alcohol or drugs during pregnancy, as these toxins can cause multiple problems for your baby, including serious vision problems.
The First Month
The eyes of infants are not as sensitive to visible light as adult eyes are, but they need protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Keep your baby’s eyes shaded outdoors with a brimmed cap or some other means.
Months 2 and 3
Months 4 to 6
Visual acuity develops rapidly, improving from about 20/400 at birth to about 20/25 at six months of age. Your child’s colour vision should be nearly fully developed at age six months as well, enabling them to see all the colours of the rainbow with ease.
Children also develop better eye-hand coordination at 4 to 6 months of age. They’re able to quickly locate and pick up objects, and accurately direct a bottle (and many other things) to their mouth.
Months 7 to 12
During months 7 to 12, your child is developing a better awareness of their overall body and learning how to coordinate their vision with their body movements. At this time, watch them closely to keep them from harm as they explore their environment. Keep cabinets that contain cleaning supplies locked, and put a barrier in front of stairwells.