Vision provides continuous and holistic information that is not available through any other sense. Your baby isn’t born with vision like you and me. Their eyes develop and mature as they grow both inside and outside the womb. Your child’s vision continues to develop until 8 years of age. In this blog we are going to explore together the different stages of your newborns eye development.

Different areas of the brain will process different information from the eyes.

The frontal lobe processes:
– Details
– Shape
– Texture

The occipital lobe is responsible for:
– Hand eye coordination
– And where the body needs to move next

Even before your baby is born their eyes are developing. At 3-4 weeks gestation their eyes have begun to form, by 26 weeks gestation your baby can blink and by 30 weeks their eyes have developed a sensitivity to light.

From Birth to 4 weeks:
– Their eye shape is 70% that of their adult size
– They can see 20-30cm from their face
– Their vision quality is poor and will see in grey scale
– Contrasting colours will get their attention

This means that for play / tummy time, dark contrasting colours and patterns will help their attention in activities.

From 4-8 weeks of age:
– Your Baby will start to make more eye contact with mum and dad
– They will start to track moving objects as they begin to see further away from their face
– Begin to smile if smiled at by parents.

From 3-4 months:
– Bub can now see in colour as this part of the eye is now developed
– They recognise objects and what they mean eg. A bottle means food
– They recognise and play with their hands more at this age.

For play in this age group colourful objects can be introduced, they can look and explore more with objects further away. Mobiles are great as reaching out can help stimulate them.

From 6 months:
– Bub now has “depth perception”
– Their brains can now use their vision to determine the distance they need to reach to an object
– Their vision now can direct their play. For example, I see my toy over to the right I need to roll over to reach it.
– Purposeful eye contact is seen in this age group
– They recognise mum and dad and some relatives. By 8-10 months they can discriminate between family members and familiar faces

From 12 months:
– Bub has good quality vision now and can recognise family up to 6m away
– They will maintain visual interest from all distances near and far
In terms of play, bub will enjoy peek a boo and looking for hidden objects.

From 2 years of age:
– Children will now avoid obstacles in their path
– Point and identify specific pictures and shapes in their books
– Copy movements from Mum or Dad
– Develop object permanence

For play, obstacle courses can be fun, matching objects or finding shapes, hide and seek with objects can be a great way of entertaining your little one.

From 3-4 years:
– Good hand eye coordination
– Visual memory has improved
– They can name and identify primary colours.

Their brains have now developed to recognise and remember the information received from their eyes. They are now able to take that visual information and coordinate their body movements appropriately to that stimulus. For example; throwing and catching balls, knowing how far to reach for a fork when I eat my food.

From ages 5-8:
– Their eyes are now the size of an adults
– Their perceptual and depth vision has refined.

Their vision is now matured and developed to the level of an adults. Their hand eye coordination, depth perception and interpretation of their environment is now fully developed.

There are some key moments in the development of your child’s vision.
If your child;
– Doesn’t return your smile at 6- 8 weeks
– Has an eye that crosses the midline after 3 months of age
Should be referred for further vision assessment.

It is always important to tailor your babies play to the level of vision they possess at the time. If you are ever concerned with your child’s vision or they are displaying signs of difficulty with tracking objects, noticing objects or difficulty with coordinating their movements you should seek assessment from your medical professionals.