Vision: how does your baby see?

Infant vision: development in stages

At birththe baby has a visual acuityweak and is particularly sensitive to strong light. “The newborn sees in a rough way, Pre confirmed. Claude Speeg-Schatz. Its sharpness is of 1/20th which is the big letter when doing an eye exam. His visual system is still intact immature and his vision will change during the first years of his life until he reaches the intelligence equivalent of an adult around the age of 4 to 5 years “. If the newborn can see things close to him – or your face when you hold him in your arms! – his vision is still very vague, is not accurate and does not recognize colors yet. “For the moment, he can only see black and white, complete the ophthalmologist. His ability to see details will improve over the months.

How does a baby see at the age of one month?

Even if he could only see a foot, as the weeks went by, the baby’s vision improved. Hand-eye coordination begins to develop and soon the child will be able to visually follow moving objects and try to reach them.

From what age does the baby recognize colors?

If at birth, the newborn sees life in black and white, over time and as his visual system matures, he will begin to see colors. So, on to three months oldthis one recognizes primary colors like red or greenthen on the sixth month, blue and yellow. Appreciation of colors is progressive and from 18 months, baby sees life in “technicolor”… even if he still struggles to recognize faint shades!

The development of binocular vision…

Your naughty baby ? Do not panic, before the age of three months, it is normal for the baby to struggle coordinate both eyes. “Visual maturation is not yet complete, confirmed Pre. Claude Speeg-Schatz. Lack of coordination between the two eyes is common in the first weeks of a baby’s life. On the other hand, any strabismus that persists beyond three months should lead to consultation”.

It is from the fourth month that the child finally succeeds in combining images and binocular vision appears.

It is the binocular vision that will allow him to see in relief, refers the specialist.

… and visual field

At birth and in the first weeks of life, the infant’s visual field – meaning the part of space seen by an eye around the point it fixes – is still very limited. “The visual field develops gradually, the ophthalmologist explains. Initially restricted, it will expand as visual maturation progresses to resemble an adult by the end of the first year of life.” Also, if you want your baby to follow you with his eyes, face him and move your face or hands slowly.

When to consult an ophthalmologist for your baby?

Generally, the first visit to the ophthalmologist takes place at the age of one year. “If there are no warning signs – strabismus, nystagmus ie an involuntary oscillation of one or both eyes, torn, conjunctivitis – the first consultation takes place between the ages of 9 and 12 months, confirms Pr. Claude Speeg-Schatz. At this age, it becomes easier to examine the baby”. Before proceeding with the clinical examination, the ophthalmologist will ask the parents about their Family history (myopia, strabismus, etc.), the course of pregnancy, etc. Some eye diseases can be influenced by heredity. If there is one or more cases of strabismus in the family, it is important to report it to the ophthalmologist. Similarly, premature babies are at greater risk of developing eye problems than full-term babies, prematurity or one low birth weight should also be specified.

Ophthalmological examination

During the clinical examination, the ophthalmologist will put drops in the baby’s eye to enlarge his pupil. This will allow him to study the eye structures behind the lens and examine the retina. Rest assured, even though your child may feel slight discomfort in the light after applying the drops, the test is completely painless.

Which children are at risk for vision problems?

Some children are more at risk than others of developing visual disturbances. This is particularly the case for children:

  • born premature,
  • born from strabismic former parents where visually impaired.

These babies should be systematically examined by an ophthalmologist from the age of one year apart from any obvious abnormalities. It is actually possible to prevent some visual disorders by regularly monitoring the child.

When should you worry?

It is important to consult an ophthalmologist when your child:

  • presenting a visual apathy : that is, he does not follow moving objects with his gaze,
  • suspicious : especially if this blinking continues after the age of three months,
  • is sensitive to light,
  • they have red eyes,
  • often blinks,
  • in bangs regularly and struggling to find their way,
  • often complained of headaches,
  • have one or both eyes swing by accident like a pendulum (nystagmus),
  • has eyes Pupil is white (leucorrhoea),
  • that has eyes tear a lot.

When taken care of early, visual disorders such as strabismus, myopia, hyperopia or even astigmatism can be corrected.

Be careful with retinoblastoma

“Finally, a strabismus that goes permanently out of one eyeneed quick consultation, Pre alerts. Claude Speeg-Schatz. You need to check if it is a accommodative strabismus which is reversible when taken care of quickly or from a retinoblastoma that is, a malignant tumor of the retina. This rare pathology that affects infants and young children can cause permanent unilateral strabismus that can testify to an organic attack of the retina.

Detect strabismus early

Do you feel like your baby is cross-eyed? This visual disturbance is common in the first three months of life.of the child. On the other hand, if it continues for more than four months, it is important to consult an ophthalmologist. In fact: the faster the strabismus is managed, the greater the chance of recovery and the lower the risk of seeing amblyopia.

During the appointment, the specialist will ask you questions:

  • in the installation mode of strabismus;
  • his old age;
  • whether it is permanent or intermittent;
  • if he replaces the two eyes, etc.

What is strabismus?

Strabismus is a loss of parallelism of the visual axes, meaning that the two eyes do not look in the same direction. According to the College of University Ophthalmologists of France (COUF), almost 4% of the population is affected. “The danger of strabismus is that it leads to amblyopia meaning a decrease in the visual acuity of one eye (non-fixative) and loss of relief vision (binocular vision), explained Pre. Claude Speeg-Schatz. In fact, the dominant eye will dominate vision and the non-functioning eye will gradually lose its function. To remedy this, we will use optical penalization or we will have recourse to occlusion of the healthy eye by a mask to force the weak (lazy) eye to work properly”. It should be noted that in the absence of treatment, nearly 50% of children suffering from strabismus will undergo a partial loss of vision cause of amblyopia.

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