The New Parent’s Guide to Baby Vision Development and Eye Health

Everyone wants to make sure that their children are healthy. Most parents gauge this by their child’s ability to develop necessary milestones during a standard (or typical) timeframe.

This is much the same when it comes to baby eye development.

But the difference between baby eye development and talking and walking is that it’s not something your baby can learn.

Developmental milestones are not always about learning. You can provide any kind of teaching material to your child, but if he already has eye problems, then there’s little you can do.

But now is not the time to worry! Part of parenting is looking for tips and advice so that you have an inkling of what you’re going up against.

Do what you’re doing now. Search the internet and learn all you can about what you might experience as your baby grows older and how his baby vision might develop.

After reading this article, you will know:

  • If newborn babies can see
  • What your babies can see as they grow older
  • What to look out for if you think your baby has eye problems
  • What is overstimulating for your babies’ eyes
  • And many more


How to Read this Article

If you are a new parent:

  • Learn when your baby should start seeing clearly
  • Get tips on how to properly take care of your baby’s sight

If you are an experienced parent:

  • Check if your baby might have underlying sight problems
  • Discover new information about baby’s eyesight

If you are a friend of someone who has a baby:

  • Learn more about babies’ eye development as a conversation starter
  • Share what you discover to help out your friend

If you just want to gather information about a baby’s eye development:

  • Read on to broaden your knowledge and share what you learn with other people to help them out.

If you want to get more information about the different milestones and development your baby will go through in the coming months, check out these articles – Baby DevelopmentBaby Development Milestones and Baby Vision Development.


Learn more details about your baby’s eyes and baby vision!

Before you learn more about the visual skills your baby might experience, you should know the difference between infant eye development and vision development.

As it is, there really isn’t a big difference between the two because they are quite inter-related with each other. But it still helps to differentiate them.

On the one hand, the eye is the physical organ that allows us to see. It’s an actual part of the human body that develops as we grow.

On the other hand, vision is a broader term that shows how sharp or how blurry we see our surroundings. It’s more of an abstract idea since it’s not something you can touch like the eye.

…the term “vision” usually includes a wider range of visual abilities and skills. These include contrast sensitivity, the ability to track moving objects with smooth and accurate eye movements, color vision, depth perception, focusing speed and accuracy, and more. – Amy Hellem and Gary Heiting OD, All About Vision

Aside from abilities and skills, visual acuity also falls under vision. For babies, this improves typically over time just like any other their other senses.

To encourage the baby eye development, you can do simple practice exercises or just continue to interact with him regularly.

But that’s not what most of you came for! Most of you want questions like ‘At what age can babies see?’ and ‘When can babies see clearly?’ answered.

Then, let’s get to answering!

So, in this article, we’ll explore:


When Do Babies Start To See?


At birth, your baby won’t have the 20/20 vision you’re already accustomed to. After his first blinks, his visual acuity is at best 20/400.

That’s super blurry! But not to worry because it’s perfectly normal for babies to have blurry vision when they are born.

So to answer the question, your baby will start seeing as soon as he’s born. But he won’t be seeing clearly.

As he grows older, your baby’s eye development will also improve. By the 3 to 5 year mark, he will generally have 20/20 vision.

If you’ve observed something peculiar in the way he looks at things or the way your baby can’t seem to focus on objects in front of him, it might be time to see the eye doctor.

An ophthalmologist or a pediatrician is the best at diagnosing what’s happening to your baby. Sure, information online can help you out but seeking professional help is still the best way moving forward.

To get the basic gist of how your baby’s eye and vision will develop over time, watch this Buzzfeed video titled How Babies See the World



How Far Can Babies See?

To get a better grasp of how your child’s visual skills will grow, it might be a good idea to know what to expect in a general time frame.

Perception and depth are some of the visual skills that will develop in time. Another critical ability to look out for is your baby’s eye-hand coordination.

Watch for signs might lead to vision problems so you can get a pediatric assessment done.

Here are the first four weeks and their milestones that your baby will experience as he grows older:

Week One

The first week of your baby’s life will be very unclear. He can only see up to about 8-12 inches in front of him.

An excellent mommy tip during this period is to try feeding your baby from alternate sides. That way both his left and right eye can be exercised.

Your newborn will also see the world as black and white at first, with color slowly seeping through as time passes by. So invest in bold, geometric patterns to stimulate your little one’s sight.

Week Two

By the second week, your baby will be able to recognize faces. You will see him focus on your more often during this period.

But make sure to go up close and personal as his field of vision remains at about 8 to 12 inches away from his face.

Week Three

By week three, your baby’s attention span will have improved. You will see him looking at you or focusing on an object for more than a few seconds.

This is a great sign that his eyesight is improving. It also means that his eyes are developing at a rapid pace.

Continue to interact with him and play with him to keep exercising his visual skills.

Week Four

Week four is an entertaining week to work with! Now, your precious bundle can move his neck muscles better. Tracking movement is a fun, new exercise that he’ll love doing.

Not only are you helping him improve his eyesight, but you’re also keeping your baby physically fit.

Of course, all these developments are only during the first month of your baby’s life. There are so many more milestones that you’ll encounter as the weeks turn into months.


When Do Babies See Color?


At birth, your baby can only see in black and white. That’s why it’s a good idea to invest in bold patterns since color isn’t really something they’ll be able to appreciate at once.

However, it will improve through time, and the first few colors he’ll see are reds, blues, and yellows. So it might be best to get a few toys that come in those bright shades.

Just make sure that you play with them in moderation to avoid overstimulating your baby’s eyes. Eye care is very crucial to keep your baby’s vision normal. About 5 minutes daily is good enough.

…baby will continue to improve her sight and by about 5 months will have good color vision, though not as fully developed as an adult’s, according to the American Optometric Association. – Celia Shatzman, The Bump

There are many ways to exercising your baby’s visual skills. You can play with toys and do games. You can help him track objects with his eyes.

You can make your baby try to grab things in front of him. You can even use online videos and applications to help with the exercises.

However, parental supervision is always required. Don’t overindulge your baby with videos.

If you notice something irregular in the way he seems to look at things, it might be time for a professional assessment.

Sometimes, even with all the proper care and moderation, babies might still need visual aids like eyeglasses

If you want to know which applications, games, and activities you can do to help stimulate your baby’s development, check out this article for more information – Baby Development Toys and Baby Development App.


Can Newborn Babies See?

Yes, but not clearly.

A newborn baby can see as soon as he takes his first few blinks. But since newborn vision starts at 20/400, the world is just a vast, black and white mass of blurriness.

Think about it. Your baby has lived in a place with basically no light for 9 months (all his existence!), and then suddenly it’s a whole other dimension.

This is normal, and your baby will soon acclimatize to his surroundings.

That’s why it’s essential to help your baby train his visual abilities. You can do so by simply talking to him regularly and making different faces at him. Peek-A-Boo is a good start, though.

You can also try and dangle different objects in front of him. It doesn’t matter if he can’t reach for it yet. Looking at different objects can help practice depth and perception.

If you want to learn more about the various other developments your baby will undergo as he grows older, head on over to these articles for more information – Baby Speech Development, Baby Brain Development and Baby Language Development.


When Do Babies Get Their Eye Color?

What? Your baby’s eye color may still change after birth? Is that even possible?

Well, yes. Eye color is highly dependent on genes and the amount of melanin your baby produces. At first, some babies’ eye colors may look blue then turn brown as time passes.

That’s because they lack melanin; and since melanin production has been activated by light, their eye colors may darken into hazel or brown.

Eye color changes are a curious part of baby eye development that isn’t necessarily inherent so that it won’t happen to all babies.

If your baby is born with dark-colored eyes, then there’s a considerable chance that it will be dark forever.

But if he’s born with light-colored eyes, they can still darken or turn into a different shade altogether.

Most dramatic eye color changes occur during the 6 to 9 month period of your baby’s’ life. But there are also rare instances where eye color can even change up until adulthood.

If you want to discover more about babies and the special cases regarding them, head on over to these articles – Fetal Development Week By Week (for pre-birth) and Premature Baby Development (for early birth).

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