Vision develops in infants from the time they are born. Soon after birth, your baby should be able to lock eyes with an object. By three months, they should be able to follow a moving object. At six months, your baby will be able to see as well as an adult in terms of focusing ability, depth perception and color vision.
To ensure that your baby’s vision is developing normally, your pediatrician will assess their vision using brightly colored toys and objects. Undetected eye problems can have a wide range of effects on your child, so it’s important to diagnose them as soon as possible. Here are five signs that your baby may need glasses.
Squints at Objects
When a child squints, it’s usually because they have a refractive error that prevents them from seeing clearly. Refractive errors are common and require corrective lenses and sometimes surgery. Common refractive errors in children include myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism.
Rubs Eyes Excessively
Infants rub their eyes when they’re tired, but if you’re seeing this habit when your child is well rested, it could be a sign of eye fatigue or strain. When the eyes are tired and heavy, it feels good to rub them. Excessive eye rubbing warrants a trip to the doctor, even if your child can see fine, as it could indicate allergies or other eye problems.
Has a Lazy Eye
It’s normal for baby’s eyes to cross over from time to time, especially if they are tired. But, some infants are born with a lazy eye, or strabismus, and others develop it in childhood. Strabismus is when the eyes don’t line up properly due to the eye muscles. Glasses may be required to straighten the eyes.
Doesn’t Follow Objects
One of the tests that eye doctors use for infants is the “fixate and follow” test. Infants should be able to fixate on an object and follow it around at three months. If your baby doesn’t follow objects by four months old, a more thorough evaluation will be done by your pediatrician.
Holds Objects Close
When your baby is playing or reading a story with you, pay attention to how they look at the objects and images. If they bring them close to their face, it’s possible they can’t see them any other way. Babies that have trouble seeing tend to hold toys and books up to their nose.
If you suspect that your baby may need eyeglasses, schedule an appointment with your pediatrician, who can then recommend a pediatric eye specialist. The good news is that most childhood eye conditions can be successfully treated.