Infant Vision Development
Newborn babies cannot see as well as children or adults because the eyes and visual system aren’t fully developed. It’s important to note that every child is unique and some may reach certain milestones at different ages.
During the first month of life, the eyes begin to work together and vision improves rapidly. For the first 2 months of life, eye coordination is not well-developed and it’s common for an infant’s eyes to intermittently appear to wander or to be crossed. If an eye appears to constantly turn in or out, however, a prompt evaluation is warranted.
Up to approximately 3 months of age, an infant’s eyes do not focus on objects more than 8 to 10 inches from their face. By 3 months of age, babies should begin to track moving objects with their eyes and reach for items.
Between 5 to 8 months, eye movement control continues to improve. Depth perception (the ability to judge if objects are nearer or farther away than other objects) and colour vision begins to develop around 5 months of age. Most babies start to crawl at 8 months old, which helps to develop eye-hand-foot-body control.
Even if no eye or vision problems are apparent, babies should be brought for their first thorough eye examination at approximately 6 months. In Ontario, children are covered through OHIP for 1 eye exam per year until they reach 19 years of age.