When do newborns start to see and what do they see25.05.2022
The question of when newborns begin to see is somewhat incorrect. It has been proven that the fetus already in the womb reacts to light. During fetoscopy (intrauterine examination of the fetus using a special optical device – a fetoscope), the child turns over and closes his eyes, trying to hide from a bright frightening beam. So the child is born already with this ability. But his vision is different from that of adults, and it will take some time before he begins to distinguish the surrounding objects in the same way as all people.
What does the baby see immediately after birth
The expression “be born” was not born by chance. The first thing a newborn encounters when they leave their mother’s womb is a bright light in the delivery room. Unfamiliar strange sounds, incomprehensible medical manipulations – this is how his new world meets him. The look of a newborn seems thoughtful, aloof, but for many babies it is attentive, as if they are immediately trying to peer into what is happening around.
The answer to the question of when newborns begin to see is simple: from birth
If a newly born person saw everything around him as we see it, it would be a great shock for him. But nature saved him from such stress, giving him the opportunity to get to know the world gradually.
There are physiological reasons for this. Slightly swollen eyelids and reddened eyes interfere with good vision. The pressure on the head that the baby experienced when passing through the birth canal also affected visual perception: all objects seem blurry. The newborn sees them fuzzy, as if through a veil of fog.
The first days after birth, the child mostly sleeps, and when he wakes up, he notices the face of his mother. He learns to consider it in the first place. At the same time, the muscles of the eyes are not yet mature enough, so it seems that the eyes squint a little. It’s really difficult for a crumb to hold his gaze at first, but it won’t be for long.
What does the world look like through the eyes of a child?
First of all, the child studies the mother, carefully peering into the features of her face. As soon as the mother appears in the field of view in bright red clothes, the baby will notice her from afar, but will still see her indistinctly. As he approaches, he will become better and better to distinguish a loved one.
By two months, the baby already knows his mother well, and also begins to get used to the rest of the family that he encounters every day. The Pope is of particular interest to him, mainly because of the unusual facial hair, if any. But even without a mustache and beard, the features of a male face are usually clearer and more expressive, which is why newborns love to look at their fathers and men in general.
In an upright position, it is easier for a child to focus and hold his eyes on an interesting object, so if you want to give your baby the opportunity to explore you and the world around you better, sometimes hold the baby in a column.
Any changes in appearance – an unexpected hairstyle, the appearance of glasses on the face, completely different clothes – can scare the baby.
Increased attention in a newborn is caused by bright large objects or black and white drawings. He can look at them for a long time.
What does a baby see a month after birth?
At first, the baby is able to follow only large objects – it does not matter if they are moving or in a static state. By three or four months, he will learn to observe the movement of smaller objects.
The ability to focus the eye develops gradually. At the age of two weeks, the baby can keep his eyes on one object for no longer than a few seconds. So if you want to make eye contact with him, be patient. But the reward for this after some time will be the charming smile of the baby.
At two months, the child is able to hold his gaze for a longer time. And a four-month-old baby can observe an object or a person that interests him for quite some time. By six months, he will be able to distinguish his toys well from other things and will watch small moving objects with interest.
How to show toys to a child
Toys are best placed at a distance no further than 20-25 cm from the baby’s eyes. Closer is harmful to vision: if the baby constantly examines something very close to the eyes, he may develop strabismus . There is no point in placing toys further: the baby at an early age simply will not see them. If you hang toys over the crib, it is better to do this not directly above the face, but closer to the baby’s legs or to the side of him.
Young children do not distinguish all colors. Red, yellow, orange attract them more than others. Blue and green babies begin to see a little later. Fully color perception develops by six months.
Spinning bright mobiles, which parents like so much, are actually not such harmless entertainment. If placed directly above the head of a newborn, they create a feeling of incomprehensible menace. The baby becomes restless, does not sleep well. In the same way, he is frightened by sharp sounds, unexpected pops, a roar.
How to identify visual impairment
The most important time for the formation of correct vision is from the first days of birth and up to about three or four years. During this period, you need to carefully monitor the baby in time to notice violations in his ability to see the world around him near and far, as well as to follow moving objects.
Most children have slightly slanted eyes in the first weeks of life. This phenomenon is called false strabismus, and there is nothing dangerous in it. It’s just that the optic nerves and muscles are not yet strong enough. But if strabismus does not go away in six months and a year, you need to sound the alarm. Show the child to an ophthalmologist to make an accurate diagnosis. You may need special treatment.
Parents should also be aware of:
- wandering gaze;
- blurred eyes;
- inability to focus;
- asymmetrical eye movement;
- lack of reaction of pupils to light or weak reaction;
- strange oscillatory eye movements;
- unusual pupil shape.
All of the above is a reason to visit a doctor and check your eyesight. The sooner the ophthalmologist identifies the cause of such deviations, the greater the chance of recovery. To correct some violations, emergency surgery is needed, which will help to avoid blindness in the future.
Even if the child is not bothered by anything and he behaves as usual, do not miss scheduled examinations at the ophthalmologist. The doctor may notice symptoms that parents are not even aware of.
Take pictures of children more often, and not only in order to remember all the joyful and exciting moments in their development. From time to time, take a photo with a bright flash in a darkened room. The pupils in the photo should look red. If one or both pupils differ from the usual red, this may be a sign of eye disease.
Carefully examining such a photograph, the doctor may suspect serious congenital abnormalities, such as retinoblastoma (malignant tumor) and cataracts.
All these are far from safe ailments, and it is better to notice them as early as possible. Some of them require immediate surgery. For example, with glaucoma at any age, waiting can lead to a sad outcome – complete blindness.
How many months do you need to visit an ophthalmologist
The first scheduled visit to a specialist should take place at the age of one month. The doctor will exclude dangerous pathologies – congenital cataract, glaucoma and retinoblastoma.
How many months to show the child to the ophthalmologist: at 1, 6-8 and 10-12 months
The second visit to the ophthalmologist’s office should be done at 6-8 months. At this age, it is easy to detect strabismus, atrophy of the optic nerves and other diseases. The first treatment measures should be started immediately, so it is so important not to miss scheduled examinations.
It is especially important to pay close attention to the child’s vision if one or both parents have problems in this area.
At 10–12 months, the refraction of the child’s eye is already quite accurately determined. This allows you to detect astigmatism, myopia and hyperopia in time. At this age, wearing the first glasses is already allowed. Perhaps the doctor will show you simple exercises for the development of vision that you can do at home in the form of a game.
If no abnormalities were found in the baby up to 12 months, then it is enough to visit an ophthalmologist once a year. Follow proper nutrition, take more walks with your child and do not let him watch cartoons for a long time. Do not get carried away ahead of time with developmental activities that burden the eyes. This will help maintain good vision for years to come.
Related: When does a newborn begin to hear ?