Red Flags in Your Child's
- Prematurity - any baby born under 31 weeks gestation
and/or weighing fewer than 3 pounds should be screened
for Retinopathy of Prematurity
- Your baby never opens one eye
- Baby is a month old and lights and/or mobiles do not catch his/her
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Visual Skills Development: At Birth
A physician will examine your newborn's eyes at birth to rule out
congenital cataracts and other serious problems. At this time an
antibiotic will be put on the eyes to prevent infection from
bacteria that was present in the birth canal.
Nerve cells in the retina and brain that control vision are not
completely developed. Therefore, infants can only see in black and white
and shades of gray. Newborns cannot focus on near objects, as eyes do not
yet have the ability to accommodate. The estimated visual acuity of a
newborn is between 20/200 and 20/400. This means that a newborn can see at
20 feet what an adult with normal vision can see at 200-400 feet. Studies
show that infants enjoy looking at faces. Since they cannot see much
detail, they are really studying the outline of the face in contrast to the
hairline. For the first 2 months your infant's eyes are not coordinated.
One eye may wander or eyes may appear crossed. If this continues after 4
months consult your child's physician.
Pigmentation of the irises is not yet complete. Babies born with darker
skin tend to be born with darker eyes that stay relatively the same color.
However babies born with lighter skin are usually born with blue or
bluish-gray eyes. The pigment in the eyes will change over the first year
of life resulting in a deeper darker color. Permanent eye color is not set
in stone until at least 9 months of age.
- To encourage visual interaction keep hairstyle the same
- To encourage your baby to look up at your face try humming while
- When interacting with your baby position your face or toy 8-12
inches away from his/her face
- Moving objects helps attract your infant's attention
- Research has shown that black and white and other bright colors of
high contrast stimulate your baby's retina development
- While pastel colors in a nursery may look pleasing to an adult, to a
newborn it essentially does nothing as they end up seeing only one shade
blurred together. Instead decorate the infant's room in bright cheerful
colors, using contrasting colors and shapes.
- Do not over do black and white. While it is great for toys, too
much of it, such as on the baby's sheets, bumpers, and wall hangings can
cause sensory overload. Using black and white contrasts and patterns on
crib sheets and around the crib can cause the infant to be over
stimulated at a time when they are there for rest. Infants should have
somewhere in their crib where they can turn from visual stimulation when
they have had enough and need a break.
- Use a nightlight or dim light in baby's room
- When outside, keep your infant in the shade to protect his/her eyes
from the sun
Visual Development by Age Group
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Early Intervention Helps with Developmental Delay
For children with Special Needs, intervention in early childhood
development means finding specific ways to help a child become as functional
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