Growth & Development

Vision

A great deal of a child’s early learning occurs through vision. 

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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.

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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.

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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
    for objects

  • 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

2-3 years

  • Sits a normal distance when watching television

  • Follows moving objects with both eyes working together (coordinated)

 

3-4 years

  • Knows people from a distance (across the street)

 

4-5 years

  • 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

Problem 

Signs

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

These Practitioners and Agencies may be able to help

Services and Information related to Vision:

Having more general concerns about a child's development?

Having difficulty coping? Need some advice?