Since I am just coming back to work from maternity leave, I thought today I would talk about ways to help your baby’s vision develop. To us, our vision seems automatic, but babies actually have to learn to see! Everything we do with our eyes is something that we had to learn as an infant. The same way babies learn to walk and talk, there are a number of different skills that babies must master in order to be able to use their eyes effectively and process vision. There are ways that parents can help this process and I will talk about a few today.
Most of your baby’s world at this age is blurry shapes, light, and shadows. They can only focus their eyes from about 15 inches away, which is about the distance of your face when you are holding your baby. These are ways to help central vision develop which will allow baby to see more clearly:
-Add lots of color! Color vision doesn’t begin developing for a few weeks, but when it does, babies love looking at bright colors. Add lots of hanging toys that are bright in color. You can hang them over their crib, changing pad, or on the stroller while you are out for a walk.
-Move objects in front of them to help them start to get used to tracking movements.
-Playing peek-a-boo will help them to practice focusing.
Hand-eye coordination begins to develop around 6 months, so getting small, colorful objects to grab and play with is really fun for baby! Depth perception is also starting to get a lot better so they will be able to grab objects more accurately. They will probably be able to recognize you from across the room at this age. Crawling will also enhance their hand-eye coordination, so definitely encourage crawling. Around 9 months old, babies can generally judge distance pretty well. This allows them to start pulling themselves up to stand.
Overall, it is very important to look for signs of eye or vision problems for you baby as they can delay development. It is important to watch for eye turns or delays in tracking moving objects. At around 6 months you can bring your child in for an eye exam as well to make sure things are developing on track.