Vision is a function of the brain. Because of this, newborns are not born with perfect vision, but instead need to learn how to interpret the visual information being served to them. This process takes time, and it’s important for parents to monitor their child’s eyesight developments to ensure their visual abilities continue to grow.

Important Developmental Visual Milestones

0-2 Months
At birth, an infant’s visual range is only about 8-10 inches away (about the distance between your face and his/hers when holding them). They are surprisingly not that sensitive to light for the first month, so you won’t have to worry about leaving some lights on while the baby is sleeping.

Newborns need to learn to use their eyes together as one. You may notice wandering eyes at this age, but around two months old, the child should be able to focus better on objects with both eyes at the same time.

2-4 Months
Newborns have the ability to see color at birth, but up until this point, it’s been easier for them to decipher between significant color differences (such as a black and white pattern). Between 2-4 months of age, they begin to interpret colors that are similar to one another, and may start to prefer the brighter, more advanced colors at this point. At approximately 4 months of age, children also learn to understand depth perception. As the brain and eyes begin to truly work together, your little one may start to reach more for objects near by. A colorful crib mobile that also has various shapes and sizes can really help a baby’s visual development during these months.

5 Months
As your baby’s vision continues to progress, you may notice some improvement in skills such as tracking moving objects and even comprehending what an item might be, just by seeing a portion of it. These skills will continue to evolve and playing the popular Hide and Seek game can be a fun learning experience for them!

6-8 Months
A baby’s first eye exam should take place around 6 months of age. There are optometrists that specialize in pediatric exams, and at this particular visit, they will simply be looking for proper eye development (basic eye structures and movement abilities). They also check for nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism, along with other eye diseases that may not be visible to the naked eye (such as tumors or cataracts).

Although everyone differs, most infants will see almost as well as adults around the 6-8 month mark. The color of their iris may have shifted since birth, but around this time is when their “adult” eye color will likely be showing. Children tend to start crawling around 8 months of age as well, enhancing their eye-body coordination skills.

2-3 Years of Age
Another eye check is recommended around 2-3 years so the physician can continue to monitor your child’s visual development.

A final eye exam should be completed prior to your child entering Kindergarten. Once again, they will be examined for proper visual development and to see if corrective gear would be beneficial.

Visual Deficiencies 
Unfortunately, poor vision and various eye disorders can lead to developmental delays, so early detection of abnormalities is critical. Often times, these shortcomings can be corrected when caught early, but the longer they go undetected, the harder it may be to fix. Plus, if they are caught prior to the child starting school, corrective items such as glasses or an eye patch may be avoided when they are old enough to attend school.

Here are some things to ‘keep an eye out for’:
• Difficulty tracking an object with both eyes after 4 months of age.
• Trouble moving one or both eyes in all directions.
• Misaligned eyes (either crossed a large part of the time or turning outward).
• Trouble focusing and as a result, displaying a “lazy eye”.
• Droopy eyelids or an excessively watering eye.

To find a Doctor of Optometry near you who specializes in pediatric eye care, visit

Sources: American Optometric Association, Baby Center, VSP