When can babies see clearly? Understanding your newborn's developing vision
Fact-checked by MFine | Last Updated : November 7th, 2019
Ever wondered what your baby's large eyes are actually seeing? Your baby's vision keeps developing until they are a year old. Here is everything you need to know about your baby's vision!
When their baby is born, most parents often feel like they are starting to see the world through their baby’s eyes. But that begs the question, what can your baby actually see? At the time of birth, a baby’s eyes are still not fully developed and their vision will be blurred. But as they grow, their vision will continue to improve and they will start to focus better. While your little one will be able to see clearly by the time they celebrate their first birthday, their 20/20 vision will only develop when they are 3-5 years old. Read on to learn more about how well your baby can see at every stage of their development.
When can babies see after birth?The minute a baby is born, their vision will kick in. They will get their first eye examination from their pediatrician as soon as they are cleaned up. Your baby will be able to detect light as well as motion immediately after birth and after a day or two, they will be able to focus on objects that are within 12 inches from them. This is why babies seem like they are looking at your face when you come very close to them. If you are breastfeeding your baby, then the face that they will be closest to the most will be yours. This can help your baby recognise you and will strengthen the special bond the two of you share. Make sure you alternate arms when feeding them so that both their eyes are exercised.
Baby’s Vision: Week 2At this point, your baby is still seeing everything in black and white, with a few shades of grey. So when can babies see colour? Not for a long time yet. Full-colour vision will only develop by the age of 4 months. A baby will be able to distinguish between primary colours of red, green, blue and yellow quite early, but pastel colours will be grey to them. Because of this, make sure that their toys are in these primary colors. Babies will also begin to recognize faces, especially their mom, by this stage but their vision is restricted to a foot, so get closer to them to help them focus.
Baby’s Vision: Week 3By the three week period, your baby will now be able to focus for longer periods of time. Make sure you talk and smile at them very frequently as this will encourage them to stay focused for longer. Don’t be alarmed if your baby’s eyes seem to cross or squint; their eyes are still uncoordinated and the muscles will strengthen with use.
Baby’s Vision: Week 4This is an exciting milestone as your baby will start turning their head to follow movements close to them. However, they will still not be able to move only their eyes to track an object; this will come much later. Now is a good time to use a rattle and move it in their field of vision. Doing this acts as a good stimulus for both sight and hearing. It is still a long way off from when can babies see things clearly, but rest assured, they are quickly getting there.
Baby’s Vision: 1-3 monthsAt one month, your baby will still not be fully sensitive to light. Because of this, you don’t have to bother about putting off the lights to get them to sleep. By 3 months though, their light sensitivity will improve drastically. Your baby’s vision will also keep getting stronger and they will begin to see objects that are further from them. This is the time when they will smile for the first time as they start to see faces they recognize. Your baby will also now be able to move their eyes to follow objects. It will be a great idea to hang a colourful mobile above their crib as this can keep them entertained while simultaneously improving the strength of their eye muscles.
Baby’s Vision: 4-6 monthsYour baby will start differentiating between colours around the 5-month mark. They will also be able to perceive depth. At this stage, both of your baby’s eyes will also become more coordinated and will be able to work together to focus on an object. This is the halfway mark of the first year and is also when babies can see objects both far and near with greater clarity. If this does not happen, alert your doctor at the next check-up. Now is the right time to play some eye coordination games like rolling a ball away from them. They are also ready to play games that encourage the development of their visual memory. One of the games you can play with them is to hide their favourite toy underneath a blanket in plain sight. While your baby might not be able to remember where the toy is the first time around, they will definitely start to the more you do it.
Baby’s Vision: 7-9 monthsWondering when can a baby see clearly and when can babies see colour? The time is now! The world is an exciting place for them with so many new things to discover. Remember to use this curiosity well to get them started on a love for books. Stock up on large picture books as baby will love to look at the colours and listen to your voice while you read them out. This is also the time your baby will be crawling and there will be no stopping them as they reach out to explore objects within their reach.
Baby’s Vision: 10-12 monthsBy now, if all is going well, there will be no question in your mind about when can babies see clearly. Your baby will easily recognise faces, reach out for objects and gravitate towards their favourite toys. With their hand-eye coordination constantly improving, now is the time when they will begin to mimic what you do. They will start pressing the buttons of the remote or blabber baby talk into a phone because that’s what they see the grown ups around them doing. They will also start trying to feed themselves because they can see everyone else at the dinner table doing it. This type of observational learning is a critical part of a child’s development. By the time babies have celebrated their first birthday, the parts of the eye, as well as the visual control centers of the brain, have matured and babies will rapidly gain more visual experience. The critical period of visual development will continue up to the age of 10. If your baby was born prematurely, if you have a family history of weak eyesight or if you notice “lazy” eye in your child at any stage of their development, make sure you get it checked out with a pediatric opthamologist. Consult with top quality city's top paediatricians on the mfine app.
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