Having eye contact with your newborn will be labeled as one of the greatest moments in your life as a mother. It is important to know that it takes time for the visual system of a newborn to develop. In the first week of life, newborns can only see in shades of gray. It will take months to fully develop the vision of an infant.
Infant Vision Development From Pregnancy to 1-Year-Old
Even before birth, a child’s vision development begins. How you take care of your body during pregnancy contributes to the development of the baby. It is important to follow the health instructions of the OB/GYN doctor to ensure a healthy pregnancy.
The doctor will examine the eyes of the infant after birth to detect neonatal eye problems and signs of congenital cataracts. Antibiotic ointment is given to the newborn’s eye to prevent eye infection. At this time, they cannot focus on near objects.
In the first month, the ability to see the colors of infants starts to develop. They can see red, orange, yellow, and green one week after birth.
During the second and third months, infants develop a sharper visual acuity and they can follow moving objects. Infants are more sensitive to light at 3 months.
During the sixth month of the infant, they can move their eyes quicker and can follow moving objects more accurately. This is the most important milestone because this is when the infant should have the first eye exam. Non-verbal testing is performed during the eye exam to assess visual acuity and health of the baby’s eyes.
During the seventh month, up to 12 months of the infant, body movement and vision are coordinated. This is the period where parents need to make sure that the environment is safe because they physically explore their environment.
Problems of Premature Babies With Vision
Babies that are born prematurely have a greater risk of eye problems. One reason why there is an increased chance of giving birth prematurely is smoking during pregnancy.
The most common vision problems are retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) and nystagmus.
Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is where abnormal replacement of normal tissue in the retina occurs. This can cause scarring of the retina, poor vision, and retinal detachment.
Nystagmus is the movement of both eyes back-and-forth involuntarily. The movements are usually horizontal but it can be diagonal and rotational.