How to Know if Your Beautiful Baby Has a Vision Problem

Are you worried your baby may have a problem with their eyes or sight? Here are some of the warning signs you need to know, which may indicate your baby might have a vision problem that needs to be addressed.

Becoming a parent means the list of things you need to worry about is never-ending. At the top of this list is undoubtedly their health. Vision and eyes included. Though most of us tend to think that vision problems mostly arise in adulthood, eye problems can develop at any stage of life, and even babies are susceptible to them. 

Knowing what to look for and getting your child the care they need early on can help prevent smaller issues from turning into more significant problems. Here are some of the main warning signs of vision problems in babies so you know exactly what to look for and when to seek professional help from an optometrist.

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Eye Development in Babies

Before we get onto the warning signs, it's important to know a little bit about how your baby's eyes develop. This will help you understand what is normal and abnormal given the current age of your infant. 

Infants do not possess great visual acuity after they are born. They are sensitive to bright light and can really only focus on objects that are about 25 centimetres from their face. Their eye muscle strength is also not that good, making it difficult for them to track objects.

During their first month of life, you may notice your baby's eyes are crossed. This is typically due to their eyes being uncoordinated and not something more serious. If the problem persists past one month, you may want to schedule an appointment with your optometrist to rule out strabismus.

In the first month, you may also notice your baby has difficulty finding with their eyes the object they are trying to look at, resulting in their eyes looking in different directions. After a few months though, your baby should have no issues accurately tracking objects. 

As your baby reaches six months, their depth perception will have improved substantially. It is also thought that by this stage their colour vision improves as well. 

Your baby's permanent eye colour will not be determined any earlier than nine months. Generally, by their first birthday, you should know what colour their eyes will be for the rest of their life, though it can change up until they reach the age of three.

What to Know and Expect Before Your Child's First Eye Exam

Warning Signs to Look Out For

If you are a new parent, you most likely are wondering what is normal baby behaviour and what behaviour may indicate there is something wrong with their vision or eye health.

Here are some of the main warning signs that there may be a problem with your baby's vision and that further evaluation from an optometrist is strongly recommended. 

Tilting their head to one side: If your baby is tilting or turning their head to one side, this could signal they have a problem with their eye muscle control. You should book an appointment with your optometrist and have them evaluate their eyes.

One eye turns outward or inward: While your baby being cross-eyed during the first month of their life is normal, if the problem persists and they continue to display this behaviour, then you should book an appointment with your optometrist. 

Inability to track objects by three months of age: All babies develop at a different pace. If you notice your newborn is still struggling to track objects and their eyes don't seem to be working together by around three months, you should see your optometrist as your baby might be suffering from a visual coordination problem. 

Excessive tearing: Once your newborn can finally produce tears, it's not uncommon for them to shed some when they cry. However, if you notice your baby seems to be making an excessive amount of tears, that could be an indication that their tear duct is blocked.

Heightened sensitivity to light: Once your baby is around one to two months old, their sensitivity to bright light should subside. If you notice they remain quite susceptible to bright light after this stage, that could be a sign they are suffering from elevated eye pressure.

Don't Delay Taking Your Baby to an Optometrist

If you notice anything that you think is abnormal with your baby's eyes or vision, don't ever delay taking them to your optometrist or doctor. These professionals are used to dealing with overly concerned first-time parents and will welcome you and your worries with open arms. Most of the time your fears will amount to nothing, but if there is something truly wrong with your infant's eyes or vision, then early diagnosis and treatment are crucial to correcting the problem and protecting your baby's vision and overall well-being. 

If you would like to book your first children's eye exam for your infant to ensure everything is going well with their ocular health and eyesight, be sure to contact us today.

Contact Our Calgary Optometry Clinic Today

If you would like more information about our affordable eye exams and advanced eye care in SE Calgary, contact Specs in the City today. Simply give us a call at 403-252-2020 or fill out our online contact form to get in touch with us. We have also instituted extensive COVID-19 safety protocols and precautions at our clinic, so we can keep our customers and staff safe during these still uncertain times.

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Q: How do baby eye exams work?

Baby eye exams look much different from adult eye exams. Your optometrist will use different toys to see how well they focus and track certain objects, but they will also use an ophthalmoscope to see inside their eyes to assess their overall eye health and look for any signs of concern. 

Q: When should a baby have an eye exam?

Your baby should have its first eye exam when they reach six months of age, even if you don't think there is anything wrong with their vision or eyes. If you do suspect your baby has any vision or eye problems, don't hesitate to take them in sooner.

Q: What colours can three months old see?

When babies reach three to four months of age, they can generally tell the difference between colours, especially green and red. 

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