An infant's eyes don't see clearly right away. Vision clears and develops in stages after birth, so it can be some time before you can really tell if your child actually has a vision problem. It's normal for a child's visual range to be restricted to a few inches beyond their face in the first months of life, but there are also some warning signs that may indicate that there's more going on. Here are a few of the things you should watch for as signs that your infant has a vision problem.
Irregular Eye Movement
When your infant's eyes move, they should move in unison. If they aren't, it may warrant a call for a vision screening. Some of the things to watch for in eye movement include instances where only one eye moves or each eye is moving differently. Another thing to be attentive to is the position of the eye. If your child's eyes have turned inward toward the nose or out toward the temples, you'll want to have him or her evaluated for vision problems.
Lack of Visual Response
If lights and movement don't seem to catch your baby's attention after the first couple of months of life, that could be an indication that he or she has poor vision. After the first three months, babies should be able to track, or follow, a toy when you move it in front of his or her eye. Failing to do that is an indication of vision trouble.
Sometimes, the most important sign of a vision problem becomes apparent simply through observation. Look at pictures of your baby, and check the eyes closely. If you see a persistent spot on your baby's eye in pictures taken with a flash, you'll want to call for an eye exam. White, yellow or grey spots visible on your child's pupil should also be addressed right away.
If you can see that one or both eyelids droop, or one of your child's eyes is noticeably larger than the other, it may be a sign of potential vision issues. Any sensitivity to light, persistent eye rubbing or squinting shouldn't be ignored.
Babies are fidgety and active by nature, so it can be hard to pin down certain movements. When you add to that their developmental inability to communicate problems, babies become a real mystery. The keys to decoding problems with your child's vision include working with a skilled ophthalmologist, like Jo Johnson, M.D., and understanding the potential signs of problems.