When babies are born their vision and ability to focus is still yet to properly develop, but now that your baby is busy little 8-month-old you might be wondering how that has changed?
Most healthy babies are usually able to detect light and dark inside your womb and when they are born they use the light and dark to detect shapes, but it takes months for them to properly learn to use their eyes – and to see colour. Their eyes even have to learn how to work together.
Newborns can typically focus around 12 inches from their face – and all in black, white and grey. This is why you quickly become their favourite thing because you are there close enough for them to see and discover your face.
As the months go on babies will start to see more and more, from toys to books and other people – and by around 5 months they should be able to see the full spectrum of colours. From there, your baby will start to develop depth perception so they can spot a favourite toy across the room or in front of them (and try to pick it up) or recognise other people outside of the family.
Around 8-12 months is a time of rapid development as their hand-eye coordination skills increase, learning to open a board book to turn the page or feeding themselves. This is the beginning of a long process that will continue to develop until they are around 4 or 5.
How can you help develop your baby’s eyesight?
- You are their favourite subject and they will love exploring your face! Get close and chat to them, smile with them and make funny faces.
- Provide plenty of toys within their reach to investigate, play and explore.
- Read books together and point out pictures and describe what they are seeing.
- Encourage your baby to crawl as this will help with their hand-eye coordination.
- Encourage gross motor skills with toys that have actions like buttons, levers, strings, wheels that can be turned etc.
When to be concerned?
Your doctor or pediatrician will usually check your baby’s vision at their general check-ups but if you are concerned or notice any of the following signs you should speak with them about any specific concerns.
- Straining or tilting their head to look at things
- Excessive tears
- Shaking of the eyes
- If there is family history of vision problems