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Early Development of Vision

A baby's eyesight is a very important source of information about his/her new world. A baby can see at birth and vision continues to develop for the first seven years of life. Overall development may be severely affected if vision does not develop normally. Stimulating a baby's vision is necessary. Always make sure there are interesting and colourful toys/objects close by to encourage a baby to look and reach.

Babies do not all develop at the same rate. However, there are significant milestones that they should reach.

From Birth

  • Pupils change size to light
  • Eyelids close to very bright lights
  • Eyes and head turn to light
  • Watches mothers/carer's face when feeding

From 1-3 months

  • Looks at human faces with great interest
  • Social smile present at 6 weeks
  • Eyes follow a moving toy at approx 20cm
  • Looks around when held upright
  • Both eyes move to look at toys held close to face

From 4-6 months

  • Visually aware of activities at all distances
  • Eyes will follow toy/object well in all directions
  • Can see and reach for small toy
  • Eyes look straight and move together
  • Aware of objects/people moving at either side

From 7-12 months

  • Vision improving at all distances
  • Picks up very small objects such as 100's and 1000's cake decorations from 9 months
  • Looks for fallen and hidden toys from 9-10 months

From 12- 24 months:

  • Vision continues to improve at all distances
  • Looks for toys that roll out of sight
  • Maintains visual interest in surroundings and play
  • Shows an interest in picture books