This is a guest post.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget to pay attention to vision problems in babies. Some parents may be more focused on when their child begins to babble and talk, or when their child begins to pull up, crawl, or walk. But your baby’s vision teaches a lot about the world around them, so it’s critical to his or her overall development.
When a newborn arrives in the world, his or her eye is about 75 percent the size of your adult eye. A newborn’s vision is initially very poor (approximately 20/400), but he or she will respond (by blinking) if someone shines a light in his or her eye. Your child will not have 20/20 vision until he or she is two years old. Over the first year of life, your child’s vision rapidly improves. His or her 3D vision also develops along with coordinated eye movements.
Signs of Eye Problems in Babies
Although it’s hard to assess your baby’s vision before two years old (when his or her vision is 20/20), there are some signs that your child is having eye problems.
- The Eye Turns In or Out – If you notice that your baby’s eyes turn in or out, you should talk to his or her doctor. It’s common for a baby’s eye alignment to be uneven at birth, but by four months old, your infant’s eyes need to be straight. Your baby is crossed eyed if one eye is turned in. It’s called walleye if one eye is turned out. The biggest risk to the baby with misaligned eyes is that it will result in a lazy eye. Having a lazy eye can cause him or her to lose vision in the affected eye. Sometimes babies with a lazy eye may need eye surgery to correct the muscle imbalance and ‘straighten their eyes’. This is a very safe procedure and the results are generally very impressive.
- Baby Doesn’t Follow You with His Eyes – By 3 months old, your baby’s eyes should follow you (or a toy that’s moved from side to side). If his or her eyes don’t follow you, you need to contact a doctor to determine whether or not there may be a vision problem. Likewise, if your baby is less aware of you when you’re standing to one side of him or her, this may indicate that your baby has a lazy eye.
- Head Tilting – If your baby is always tilting his or her head when looking at things, this may indicate that one eye has poor vision and your child is bringing the good eye forward to get a good look at things.
- Grayish-White in the Pupil – Your baby may have cataracts if you notice there is a white or grayish white material inside the pupil. A healthy baby’s eyes should be crystal clear. Severe cataracts may require surgery to remove it.
You should always contact your baby’s doctor if you notice that there is anything unusual about your child’s eyes. For example, if the left eye moves but the right doesn’t, this may indicate a problem.
The pediatrician or family doctor can treat minor heath-related eye problems, such as an eye infection, but you may be referred to a pediatric optometrist or ophthalmologist in the event of a more serious vision problem.
Special Thanks to My Guest Blogger
Tim Harwood is an Optometrist from the UK. He writes content for his own website along with doing his clinical practice.