Long before babies learn to reach and grab objects with their hands, they learn to recognize what they can see around them. A newborn’s vision is not quite as sharp as an adult’s, but with proper care and attention a child’s eyes will develop properly. Poor vision can play a detrimental role in the way a child learns and grows, taking special care to ensure the health of your child's eyes will shape their future as adults.
How Eyes Develop Throughout Childhood
The First Year: The eyes begin to develop quickly from the moment they open the first time. High contrast images like black and white picture books will not only entertain a newborn but help build the muscles in their eyes. Hand eye coordination will improve as eye muscles improve. By three months, most children can follow objects with their eyes and will reach for items nearby. Around five to eight months children will begin to crawl, with strengthened eye muscles and nerves there to guide them to the next goal. When a child reaches their first birthday, they have the eye coordination to judge distances, throw objects and pull themselves to a standing position.
Between one to two years of age, the development of the eyes is almost finished. A child should have good depth perception and hand-eye coordination by their second birthday. At two, vision is so developed that your child should be highly interested in their environment, from coloring, exploring outside or reading books with you.
These are extremely vital times in your child’s eye care. An eye exam to ensure their vision is developing properly is highly recommended. Every child is unique and will develop in their own way. It’s best to get your child’s vision tested with a comprehensive evaluation.
Helping With Development
You can help your child’s eyes grow stronger by participating in age appropriate activities that will feed their minds and bring you closer. Talk to your babies and make eye contact with them when you do. Incorporate high contrast toys or books into your conversations with newborns to help stimulate their vision. As hand-eye coordination sharpens, more stimulating toys and activities are recommended. Reading to your child and with your child will strengthen their eye muscles and nourish their brain.
Regular Eye Exams
A child’s first eye exam should be scheduled at around 6 months of age. A child’s vision should be checked for normal development around their third birthday and before they begin any preschool or kindergarten activities. This is because you want to ensure your kid’s eye health is what it needs to be in order to learn new skills like drawing, reading and writing.
If you believe your child is struggling with their vision, schedule an appointment to have their vision evaluated by an optometrist or ophthalmologist right away, regardless of age. Children frequently don’t understand the strain that their eyes are under, so it falls to parents to have their child’s eyes examined for problems routinely, well into their teens, so they can go into the world ready to succeed.
There are some things to look for as a parent that could indicate vision problems or potential eye diseases. Most kid’s eyes grow normally, but anomalies do exist.
- An eye turning in or out occasionally is common in babies two months and under. Constant eye turn beyond this age could be a sign of poor muscle control.
- Excessive tearing could mean the ducts in your infant’s eyes are blocked and not allowing proper flow.
- Red eyes with or without lid crusting could indicate an eye infection.
- Complains of headaches could indicate focusing issues.
- Excessive blinking or eye blinking could indicate poor vision or allergies.
Serious conditions like problems in muscle control or eye diseases and cancers rely on early diagnosis for treatment. Commit to setting an eye exam schedule to maintain the health of your child’s eyes. Please feel free to give us a call if you are concerned about any signs of vision problems in your children.
Take steps to protect your kids eye health,
schedule them an appointment for an eye examination.
For more information or to schedule an eye exam in with Dr. Sanwari, please call our office at (281) 747-1232.
August was declared Children's Eye Health & Safety Month by Prevent Blindness Texas in 2014. This sight-saving program uses a network of offices and volunteers to promote vision care and share information on eye health and safety in an effort to eliminate preventable blindness throughout Texas. For more information or to make a contribution to their cause, visit their Official Website or call 1-888-98-SIGHT.