This is a common question we get as eye care providers. Obviously they cannot tell us, but there are clues to look for to make sure they are meeting their visual milestones to prevent development of strabismus and/or amblyopia and avoid delays in communication, interaction and bonding.
1. Does your infant make eye contact? This is expected by 8-10 weeks of age. This is important for developing facial recognition and visual discrimination.
2. Does your infant visually communicate by socially smiling? This is expected by 3 months of age. This is an indicator she can see detail and it starts a connection between vision and goal directed action.
3. Is your child aware of their hands? This is usually seen in the third month. This is an important stage in vision development as it is thought to promote the fusion of the eyes and the development of 3D vision.
4. Is your child reaching and grasping (goal directed arm movement)? This develops in the fifth or sixth months of age. This develops spatial awareness further enhancing 3D vision.
If there is a delay in the visual milestones, this could indicate a need for glasses to compensate for a high prescription or a weak focusing system.
The American Optometric Association recommends a vision examination at 6 months of age to assess whether amblyopia or strabismus are developing or signs they’re at risk so early intervention can be implemented.
A premature infant needs to be examined earlier and more often as they are at higher risk for eye health conditions and vision delays.
Bring in your infant right away if you see white in the pupil of one or both of the eyes.