Babies can see when they are born, but their eyes don’t always focus accurately. A baby’s eyes may squint sometimes (they may not always line up with each other), but if their eyes always seem to squint, this should be investigated. Their eyes develop gradually, and after about six weeks they should be able to follow something colourful or interesting with their eyes.
An easy test you can do at home when a baby is over six weeks old is to see if your baby’s eyes follow you around a room. If they don’t seem to be able to focus on you properly – for example, if they can’t follow you and recognise your facial gestures, or their eyes wander when they are looking at you – it could suggest a problem. You can also try covering each of the baby’s eyes in turn. If they object to having one eye covered more than the other, they may have problems seeing out of one eye. As they get older, you can start to point out objects both close up and far away. If they struggle to see the objects, contact an optometrist for advice.