Growth & Development
A great deal of a child’s early learning occurs through vision.
Children who are born with (or acquire in early childhood) blindness or low vision are at a greater risk for developmental delays and communicative disorders.
Children born with poor vision do not know what “normal vision” is like.
They often think that everyone sees the same way that they do.
Not waiting for your child to tell you that they have a vision problem. It is important to monitor a child’s visual development . Early identification can often reduce or eliminate the risk of long-term complications.
Recommended frequency for children’s eye examinations: First eye exam between 6 and 9 months of age, and then annually or as recommended by the optometrist.
Healthy Child Development
There are several stages of healthy vision development that are marked by key abilities.
By 6 weeks
Stares at surroundings when awake
Briefly looks at bright lights/objects
Blinks in response to light
Eyes and head move together
By 3 months
Eyes glance from one object to another
Eyes follow a moving object or person
Stares at a caregiver's face
Begins to look at hands and food
By 6 months
Eyes move to inspect surroundings
Reaches/graps for objects
Looks at more distant objects
Smiles and laughs when they see you smile and laugh
By 12 months
Eyes turn inward as objects move close to the nose
Watches activities in surroundings for longer time periods
Looks for a dropped toy
Visually inspects objects and people
Creeps towards favourite toy
By 2 years
Uses vision to guide reaching and grasping
Looks at simple pictures in a book
Points to objects or people
Looks for and points to pictures in books
Looks where they are going when walking and climbing
Sits a normal distance when watching television
Follows moving objects with both eyes working together (coordinated)
Knows people from a distance (across the street)
Holds a book at a normal distance
... If a child is missing one or more of these expected age outcomes, consider this a red flag
If a child is experiencing any of the following, consider this a red flag:
► Blinking and/or rubbing eyes often; a lot of tearing or eye-rubbing
► Swollen or encrusted eyelids
► Bumps, sores or sties on or around the eyelids
► Drooping eyelids
► Lack of eye contact by three months of age
► Does not watch or follow an object with the eyes by three months
► Haziness or whitish appearance inside the pupil
► Frequent “wiggling,” “drifting” or “jerky” eye movements; misalignment of the eyes (eye turns or crossing of eyes)
► Lack of co-ordinated eye movements
► Drifting of one eye when looking at objects
► Turning or tilting of the head when looking at objects
► Squinting, closing or covering of one eye when looking at objects
► Excessive tearing when not crying
► Excessive blinking or squinting
► Excessive rubbing or touching of the eyes
► Avoidance of, or sensitivity to, bright lights