newborn eyesight

Newborn eyesight

How far can my baby see is a question I get asked on every maternity job and your baby’s newborn eyesight will grow over the next few weeks and months.

To begin with your baby’s newborn eyesight will be quite fuzzy but he can see and he will be amazed by his first looks at the world around him and he will love looking at your face.

He will be able to see about 20 to 30 cm at birth and as your baby grows his newborn eyesight will improve so over the next few weeks and months your baby will be able to see more and more every day.

Your newborn baby will have his eye sight checked once after the birth, at his newborn check while you are still in hospital, and again at his 6 week post natal check up.

They will check baby’s  newborn eyesight for:

1) any physical defects including squints by looking at the eye
2) cloudiness or redness in the eye by looking at the eye
3) reflexes of the pupils of the eye by shining a light into the eye
4) red reflex of the eye by using a special instrument that shines a light into the eye and this light should be reflected back as a red colour
5) they will check for tracking of the eyes by seeing if baby can briefly follow an object

By the time your baby is 1 year old he will have very good baby eye sight and be able to see the same as you do.

Your newborn baby can see your face clearly when he is feeding, which is about 6 to 8 inches (20 to 30 cm). Clever stuff nature.

Over the coming weeks you will notice that your baby begins to see things further away and will begin to follow people when they come in and out of rooms over time.

The way in which your baby’s newborn eyesight improves is natures way of not bombarding his brain with too much stimulus.

If your baby could see as well as we can straight after birth he would become totally overwhelmed by his new surrounding so newborn eyesight that gets stronger and lengthens over time is nature way of regulating this stimulus.

For now anything over 20 to 30cm will be very blurred to him but he will notice big shapes, movement and light around him. Your baby’s Newborn eyesight often become fixed on windows due to the light coming in from them.

You may also notice that their eyes sometimes move in different directions and they look cross eyed. This can be quite worrying for you but it is fine, your baby has just not worked out how to move and fix his eyes on the things he is looking at yet, and the muscles around his eyes need to get stronger to help this happen.

baby developmental milestones

Newborn eyesight development

By the time your baby is 1 month old they still will not be able to see very far, but the things they can see will be clearer to them. They will spend a long while looking at you and working out your facial expressions. Its fun to make lots of faces at him and see if your baby tries to copy them.

They still see things in black and white as colour begins to come in for them once they are 2 months old.

Your 2 month old baby will now begin to see the world with a hint of colour but all the colour spectrum will not be set until 3 months old.

He will enjoy tracking things from side to side as his eyes now mainly work together. You may catch him becoming cross eyes still but that’s just because those eye muscles are still growing and working really hard to focus further and see more.

When you have reached 3 to 4 months your baby’s eyes will see a wider colour spectrum and their eye colour will also be set.

You may notice that when people enter or leave a room your baby tracks their movement. Toys now come into their own and your baby may already have a favourite toy they like to play with.

Hand eye co ordination will have now begun to happened and you may see your baby looking at his hand and following it as it moves. He may in fact have started to do this sooner than 3 months, anything from 10 weeks is great progress.

5 and 6 months will see your baby noticing smaller things and happy to smile at different faces.

If in a room full of people and looking to gain attention they will squeal with excitement and produce a big smile if anyone looks their way.

They will love you chatting to them and will enjoy peek a boo games. Hand eye coordination will be improving all the time and they will be grabbing for things to play with, most of which now goes in the mouth to explore some more.

Once your baby has reached 7 to 9 months his vision will be much clearer. He will be able to see much smaller things as well now and his hand eye coordination will be improving daily. He will still be able to see things clearer the closer they are to him but his longer sight will be much better and he will spend more time following people when they come in and out of rooms. He will also notice when you leave the room now and may get upset by this.

Your baby’s sight at 12 months will allow him to recognise familiar faces from a distance away and his eye sight will be pretty much the same as yours. He should be able to tell the difference between near and far and if asked, crawl or even possibly walk with help to get a favourite toy or item.

newborn sight

What if my baby has a newborn eyesight problem?

When your baby has his newborn and 6 week newborn eyesight checks and if a problem is found there are several things that can be done to help and its best to chat with your doctor or health visitor as too what can be done.

Its good to tell your doctor or health visitor at your newborn eyesight checks if :

1) eye disorders run in your family
2) you notice that your baby’s eyes are crossed most of the time
3) after 6 weeks your baby finds it difficult to track a moving object from side to side using both eyes together
4) your baby has an eye that turns outwards or wanders by itself

I hope that my how far can my baby see page has helped you to understand how your newborn eyesight will improve over the next few weeks and months and I hope you will enjoy those first looks and smiles as much as I still do when I am working.

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