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Babies Need Their Eyes Checked Too

by Tania Cowling | March 24th, 2014 | Care, Infants/Toddlers

baby profileIf you think that only older people have eye problems, you are wrong. Babies need to be screened for eye issues from the time of birth. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all babies have an eye exam performed by their pediatrician soon after birth and with every well checkup. Young children have been diagnosed with ailments such as cataracts, muscle disorders, tumors, and amblyopic (lazy eye).

A pediatrician will examine your baby’s eyes with a tool called an ophthalmoscope and a pen light to detect problems. There is also a special camera that takes a picture of the child’s eye pupil that can be analyzed and makes eye screening easier. If your pediatrician finds an eye issue, you will be referred to a specialist (pediatric ophthalmologist).

During your baby’s growth, these are normal milestones:

  • 1 month – Your baby can focus within a 12-inch range and detects bright, bold patterns.
  • 2 months – Your child should be able to follow a moving object with his eyes. His focus has improved.
  • 3 months – The baby’s distance vision is further and has gained depth perception.
  • 4 months – Your baby loves to look at patterns and shapes. He now has better color vision.
  • 5 months – Babies love looking at their reflection in a mirror.
  • 6 months+ – Your baby continues to develop his eye/hand coordination as his vision matures.

Watch your child for these indicators, and contact your pediatrician:If you observe that your baby doesn’t follow an object that crosses his line of vision or he crosses his eyes a lot. I say a lot, since most babies will cross their eyes once in a while during the first six months of age. Other red flags are rapid fluttering of the eyes, watery and red eyes, droopy eyelids, a white area in the pupils, and being very sensitive to light.

Make sure you stay on schedule with your baby’s well checkups. Checking your child’s eyes regularly helps to assure that your baby’s eyes are healthy and if problems arise as they grow, these can be addressed early. Make sure to share any family history with your child’s doctor, like anyone that had to wear glasses early as a child in your family or other eye disorders. By age three, children should be given formal eye testing (measuring what your child can really see).

Vision is an important sense in your child’s development. Keep your little one’s peepers healthy and beautiful.

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