Infant Eye Care: What You Can Do, And When To Get An Exam

For the first few months of life, your baby won't be able to see much beyond your face, nor will your baby be able to distinguish between many colors. This is normal in infant vision development. When they're very young, babies are still strengthening their eye muscles and still learning how to use their eyes properly. These tips will help you encourage good vision in your baby and will help you recognize signs of problems.

Strengthening Your Baby's Vision

In the first year of life, strengthening your baby's vision involves giving your baby new and different things to look at, and encouraging your baby's eyes to work together as a pair. Below are some exercises that will help you with this:

  • Hold your baby in different positions while breast feeding.
  • Move your baby's bed on a regular basis to give your baby new things to look at. 
  • Put black and white patterns on the walls above your baby's crib and in rooms where your baby spends a lot of time. 
  • Talk to your baby while you walk around the room. 
  • Give your baby lots of tummy time. Get down on the floor with your baby to encourage him or her to look up at you.
  • Show your baby age-appropriate toys. Hold each toy within arm's reach to encourage your baby to look at the toy, reach for the toy and take the toy.
  • Hang a black and white mobile above your baby's bed. Activate the mobile on a regular basis. 

Recognizing the Signs of Vision Problems

Being able to recognize the signs of infant vision problems can help you get your baby the medical treatment he or she needs. Here are a few of the warning signs:

  • Sensitivity to light. 
  • One of your baby's eyes has a white or light spot (not red) inside the pupil that appears in photographs taken with flash. 
  • One of your baby's eyes is consistently "lazy."
  • Your baby's eyes won't move together.
  • Your baby's eyes are crossed.

It's important to note that some crossing is expected and acceptable. In addition, baby's eyes can appear crossed sometimes when in reality they're not. This is because of the structure of the baby's face, and is something that babies grow out of. You can tell whether or not your baby's eyes are actually crossed by looking at the reflected light in your baby's pupils. If the pinpoints of light appear in the same position in each pupil, the eyes are straight. 

Many vision problems can be corrected or reversed if they're caught early enough. If your child shows any of the above signs of vision trouble, contact an optometrist like one from Montgomery Eye Center who gives eye exams right away.