Vision in the first year

Vision in the first year

Month one

At first, your newborn baby could only focus on things that were about 25 cm (10 inches) from their face. Now, a month later, their vision is improving, and they can see about 1 m (three feet) from their face now. If you lay your baby on their back and dangle an object from the end of a string within their line of vision, they will watch it, but they won't follow it if you move the object away. Your baby spends a lot of time evaluating their surroundings now. When sitting still, they can take in quite a bit of visual information.

Your baby continues to enjoy human faces and high contrast patterns. They like items that are black and white, and bold in pattern. Polka dots and checkerboards may strike their fancy. However, they probably won't give a passing glance to the pastel toys you have bought for them, as their muted colours are less interesting and harder to focus on.

Month two

Your baby's eyes are becoming more coordinated now. Their eyes are working together, their eyesight is improving, and they can focus better. Their eyes can fixate on objects and they probably look more alert now because of this. They enjoy watching things that are in motion, and they can track moving objects both horizontally and vertically. They can recognize people and things that they are familiar with.

If you lay your baby on their back and swing an object on a string from side to side, they will try to follow it.

Month three

Your baby's vision continues to improve this month. Now they can tell the difference between someone who is smiling and someone who is frowning. If someone frowns at them, they probably will not smile, and they might begin to cry.

Their spatial perception is also improving. Your baby is starting to realize whether a toy is close enough for them to reach, or halfway across the room. They are now able to follow a toy swinging on a string from side to side.

Your baby becomes fascinated by their hands around this time, and they will spend a great deal of time watching their movements.

Month four

Your baby continues to enjoy bright, bold colours, and they are particularly drawn to things that are red or blue. They may also be able to tell the difference between objects that are different in texture.

Months five to seven

Your baby's depth perception is improving dramatically. They can now tell the difference between a face that is real, and a face that is part of a picture.

They also realize that they can follow an object if it leaves their line of vision. They have figured out that they can move their head to continue to watch the object.

If you are looking at something, your baby will try to figure out what you are watching, in order to learn more about the world around them. They will start to make links between what you are looking at and the words you use to describe them.

Month eight

By this time, your baby's eyesight has improved to near normal. They can now see things that are in the distance, and thus you will find them staring off at objects that are farther across the room. They can spot very small objects nearby. They are also good at reading people's faces and figuring out whether they are happy or sad.

Article excerpted from and copyrighted by the original author.

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