After taking a baby home, most new parents are slightly overwhelmed with new concerns for their baby’s health. Babies change, learn, and grow every day, so it can be difficult to understand what is normal versus abnormal. When it comes to baby’s vision, some signs may seem alarming but be perfectly normal, while other things may seem normal but be warning signs to watch out for. The following are a few things that every parent should know about children’s eye health.
Your Baby’s Eyes Change as They Grow
Most babies are born with blue eyes, but their eyes change color as the weeks pass. This is because the melanin in the retinas determines the color of the eyes and the body produces this melanin in response to light, though the amount produced is determined by genetics. Babies are also born with poor vision, an inability to focus, and the ability to see only in black, white, and shades of grey. This generally improves if there are no issues. By about six months, most babies’ vision is almost completely developed.
Eye Examinations Can Be Done On Even Very Young Babies
Around six months is when most babies should receive their first eye examination. It is not necessary for babies to be able to speak or read for doctors to be able to detect problems. Doctors can observe how well the eyes team up, can check the alignment of the eyes, assess reflexes, and carefully examine the eyes for signs of potential health problems. Doctors can also determine whether a baby is nearsighted, farsighted, or has astigmatism.
You Can Help or Harm Your Child’s Vision Development
Children’s vision development can be impacted by what parents do while the child is in the womb and after the baby is born. Smoking and being exposed to certain chemicals can harm a baby’s vision. Doing things like walking around while talking to the baby after it is born and moving objects around the room can improve vision development and coordination. Regularly examining the baby’s eyes and taking the baby to scheduled eye exams by professionals can also have a huge impact.
Some Conditions Can Be Better Treated When Detected Early
While it may seem unnecessary to worry much about a child’s eyes and vision before they are school age, some conditions can be better treated when detected early. Problems with the eyes can also affect more than vision, as with eye cancer. While most cases of eye cancer are successfully treated, the prognosis depends heavily on early detection. Vision may also be better preserved by detecting different eye health complications early.
If you are unsure of how to best protect your child’s eye health or have concerns that there may be something wrong, visit a pediatric eye doctor.