Eyes and Vision

How can I tell if my baby’s vision is developing normally?
At birth, babies are very nearsighted and can only focus on objects at close range, up to 10 inches away.  One of the first things babies will be able to focus on is your face.  Practice talking to your baby at close range.  Move slowly from side to side to see if your baby can follow your face.  By 2 months of age, your child should begin to regard your face gradually and track you from side to side.
What are some potential vision problems that can occur in young infants?
Your pediatrician will examine your infant’s eyes at birth to screen for these problems.  Infants with abnormalities of the eyelids or surrounding eye structures should be examined closely for vision problems.  If your child was premature, weighing less than 3 ½ to 4 lbs. or required oxygen treatment for prolonged period of time (several weeks), an ophthalmologist (eye specialist) should examine and screen your child for potential problems.  If your baby’s family history includes any inherited eye disease, these should be discussed with the baby’s physician (diseases such as cataracts or glaucoma.)
What are common symptoms children may exhibit that have vision problems?
Up to 5% of children may have problems with eye alignment.  Children have occasional eye deviation of overly tired, sleepy and/or ill.  This is normal.  However, persistent eye deviation or a regular occurrence of the eye misalignment is a concern.  If your child’s eye(s) appear crossed or turn outward after 3 to 4 months of age, notify your physician.  Most infants can fixate on objects or faces at arms length by 4 months of age and fully track from side to side.  By 6 months of age, your child should be able to accurately search out, find and retrieve small objects (such as an individual cheerio.)
Notify your baby’s pediatrician if your child exhibits any of the following eye symptoms or you have other concerns about your child’s vision.
·         Clouding of pupil
·         Constant rubbing of the eyes
·         Excessive tearing
·         Persistent redness
·         Excessive sensitivity to bright lights
·         Unequal pupil size
·         Squinting
·         Head tilting
·         Difficulty gazing side to side or up or down
·         Abnormal jerky eye movements