Understanding baby eye development
Even before your baby is born, their eyes are developed enough to tell the difference between light and dark. But beyond that, your baby's eyes have an enormous amount of developing to do before they are considered fully mature.

 At birth

While your baby's eyes can focus at birth, they don’t know what they’re looking at. Your baby can focus best on objects that are about 20 to 35 cm from his eyes. They’ll enjoy looking at faces best - though they won't recognise them - and are capable of staring at a face for a long period of time . Objects that are further away will appear blurry. Their eyes may appear occasionally cross-eyed as they don’t have full control of their muscles and so their eyes may lag behind for a moment when they move their head

Your baby will be able to focus on contrasting bright colours better than on pale colours.

Their eyes will appear dark at this stage, though as more pigment is formed in the iris, their eye colour may change. Most babies' eyes have finished changing by the time they're 6 months

By 2 months

Your baby will be able to fix their eyes on an object. They will be able to follow moving objects with their eyes - mobiles provide great entertainment at this stage. They are beginning to recognise familiar faces

By 3 months

Their long-range vision is improving and they can now follow you from across a room. They are just beginning to develop hand-eye co-ordination and will reach out to touch an object they see

They have better control over the muscles in their eyes - so they should stop appearing cross-eyed at this stage.

By 4 months

Your baby will reach for objects and bring them up to their face for a closer look. They can see and focus on objects and people who are moving fast. They will look around their environment and seek out interesting things to look at.

By 6 months

They will begin to see objects in 3 dimensions - which also means they can begin to judge distance. This will enable them to be able to successfully reach out and pick up objects from a range of distances. 

They will be very engaged with their environment, moving their head constantly to see what is going on around and behind them • They will be able to look at the illustration in a picture book for a short time

By 8 months

Your baby will now be able to hold objects in clear focus and their hand-eye co-ordination is rapidly improving. If they drop an object, they will look in the right direction to find it.

By 12 months

They can clearly recognise people from a distance of several metres. Your baby's 3-D vision is well developed now, which is necessary before they can learn to walk


This article was written for Kidspot New Zealand by Specsavers

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