Growth & Development


Current research suggests that approximately 1 in 6 children has a vision problem. 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. Therefore, do not wait for your child to tell you that they have a vision problem.


Recommended frequency for children’s eye examinations: 6 months of age, 3 years of age and then every 12 months or as recommended by the optometrist.

Healthy Child Development

There are several stages of healthy vision development that are marked by key


0-3 months

  • Focuses on your face, bright colors and lights; follows slow-moving, close objects

  • Blinks when bright lights come on or if a fast moving object comes into close view

  • Watches as you walk around the room

  • Looks at hands and begins to reach out and touch nearby objects

4-6 months

  • Tries to copy your facial expression

  • Reaches across the crib for objects/ reaches for objects when playing with you

  • Grasps small objects close by

  • Follows moving objects with eyes only (less moving of head)


7-12 months

  • Plays games like ‘peek-a-boo’, ‘pat-a-cake’, ‘waves bye-bye’

  • Reaches out to play with toys and other objects on own

  • Moves around to explore what’s in the room; searches for a hidden object

12 months -2 years

  • Moves eyes and hands together (e.g., stack blocks, place pegs)

  • Judges depth e.g., climbs up and down stairs

  • Links pictures with real life objects

  • Follows objects as they move from above head to feet

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)

  • Uses hands and eyes together (e.g., catches a large ball)

  • Builds a tower of blocks, string beads; copies a circle, triangle and square


4-5 years

  • Knows colours and shadings; picks out detail in objects and pictures

  • 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

► Headaches, nausea, dizziness; blurred or double vision

► Eyes that itch or burn; sensitive to bright light and sun

► Unusually short attention span; will only look at you if he hears you

► Avoidance of tasks with small objects

► Turning or tilting head to use only one eye to look at things

► Covering one eye; has difficulty, or is irritable with reading or with close work

► Eyes that cross, turn in or out, move independently

► Holding toys close to eyes, or no interest in small objects and pictures

► Bumping into things, tripping; clumsiness, restricted mobility

► Squinting, frowning; pupils of different sizes

► Redness, soreness (eyes or eyelids); recurring styes; discoloration

► Constant jiggling or moving of eyes side-to-side (roving)

These Practitioners and Agencies may be able to help

Having concerns about a child's development?

Having difficulty coping? Need some advice?

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