he first months of an infant’s life probably mean that new parents are fraught with anxiety about their baby’s proper development – can he hear properly? Can she see clearly? Is he gaining as much weight as he should be? And is she doing everything as and when she is supposed to?
So how can you tell if your baby can see properly, and is attaining vision milestones as and when he or she is supposed to?
Most parents do know that babies are born with rather poor eyesight and can focus only on things that are about 10 inches from their noses; no further. Anything beyond that will probably be a blur that baby cannot comprehend.
Another thing parents should know is that babies tend to have a squint eyed appearance to begin with, as they try and focus on objects, this will disappear as their vision improves and develops.
The rule of thumb with babies is that they find faces to be the most fascinating things and are usually able to focus on a face at about 2 weeks. At about 6 weeks a baby may even respond to a familiar face by offering a reaction such as a smile.
How to test your baby’s vision
When your baby is about 6 weeks old, place him or her in the lap of someone they are familiar and comfortable with (and it is best to do this when baby is relaxed and rested). Then bring your face close to the baby’s – about an arm’s length or less from the baby’s face. Allow your baby’s gaze to fix on your face.
Then move your head from side to side and check to see if baby gaze is able to follow that movement. You can try the same test using a brightly colored toy and by moving it before the baby to see if his gaze follows its progress.
It must be mentioned here that this ‘test’ is far from foolproof and some babies may simply not be inclined to follow an object or a face with their gaze even if their vision is perfectly normal. They are easily distracted and what you think may be fascinating for them may simply not be so.
And finally parent’s instincts in such matters can be very reliable. If you feel that there is anything that isn’t quite right, do not hesitate to have it checked by your doctor.