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The Baby Magazine

Baby Development + Newborn Play + Curiosity + Attention Span + Memory


Infant Eye Development

Infant Vision Development from American Optometric Association

Specific Ways to Help Your Infant's Vision Develop

Between birth and age 3, many of your baby's vision skills will develop. Here are some ways you can help.

During the first 4 months of life, your baby should begin to follow moving objects with his or her eyes and reach for things. Reaching will become more accurate as hand-eye coordination and depth perception begin to develop.

To help development:

  • Use a nightlight or other dim lamp in your baby's room.
  • Change the crib's position frequently and your child's position in it.
  • Keep reach-and-touch toys within your baby's focus of about eight to 12 inches.
  • Talk to your baby as you walk around the room.
  • Alternate right and left sides with each feeding.
  • Hang a mobile above and outside the crib.

American Optometric Association

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0-3 months

Participate in Your Newborn’s Eye Development

Can I Stimulate My Baby's Eye Development? 

In this critical first year, your baby’s brain and eyes begin to coordinate images and remember what they’ve seen. As a parent, you can participate in your newborn’s eye development and health as a normal part of your time with your baby. Proper stimulation can increase curiosity, attention span, memory, and nervous system development. So be sure to give your baby plenty of interesting things to see.

The First Three Months of Eye Development 

Newborns can only focus about eight to 12 inches from their face, and they see only black, white and gray. As early as the first week, your baby begins to respond to movement and begins to focus on your face. Soon your baby will smile when you come close. This is an important sign that your baby sees and recognizes you – a joyful moment for any parent.

Over the next ten to 12 weeks, you will notice your baby following moving objects and recognizing things, especially toys and mobiles with bold, geometric patterns. As their color vision begins to develop, babies will see red first – they will see the full spectrum of colors by the time they reach five months of age.

When Do Babies Begin To See Clearly? 

Depth perception and eye-hand coordination begin to develop when infants reach approximately five months. From four to six months, your baby begins to reach out and touch an object – something that previously only happened by chance.

You've probably heard the term 20/20 vision which is typically thought of as “normal” visual acuity. By six months of age your child’s visual acuity is around 20/100. Your child won’t reach adult levels of visual acuity until they are age 4 or 5. You’ll see how eyesight becomes a crucial element in your baby’s ability to coordinate full-body movements such as standing and walking.

When Does a Baby's Hand Eye Coordination Develop? 

From 8 to 12 months, the connection between eyes, movement, and memory is strong as your baby approaches his or her first birthday. In the past year you’ve probably noticed tremendous improvements in your baby’s attempts to roll a ball, pick up small toys and objects, and feed themselves foods like cereal or sliced fruit.

Activities that encourage hand-eye coordination, like playing with stacking boxes and rings, blocks or snap-together toys, will help strengthen your baby’s ability to see an object, touch it, and remember things about it.