Stages of development

A short guide to your child’s eyes

Key milestones

Babies

  • eyes are more sensitive to bolder colours and black and white patterns
  • colour vision improves greatly over the first 3 months after birth
  • are able to focus after a few months.

Look out for: A white reflection glimmer in the eyes (you might see this in photos) – might indicate a problem. An optometrist can check this.

 

6 months+

  • eyes should be fully developed
  • can judge depth and see 3D shapes
  • in rare cases may need glasses.

Look out for: Your babies’ eyes should be able to follow you around a room after a few months. You can do a quick check – cover each eye in turn. If your baby doesn’t like having one eye covered more than the other one there may be a problem.

 

4 years+

  • At age 4 to 5, vision screening should happen at school. If this hasn’t happened by the end of your child’s first year at school, and you have concerns about their eyes, take them to your optometrist.
  • Treatment for lazy eye is most successful before the age of 7.
  • Short-sight is most likely to start between 6 and 13 years of age.

Look out for: A squint or lazy eye often runs in families, and may not be obvious.

 

The growth spurt

  • Eyes continue to grow and develop – so monitor your child’s vision on an ongoing basis.
  • Complaints of headaches or tired eyes after school might indicate an eye problem.
  • 1 in 5 UK teenagers are short-sighted.

Look out for: Children wearing glasses – especially sporty ones – might benefit from contact lenses but they must be kept clean!

 

A possible eye problem?

Look out for these warning signs in your child. They may indicate a problem:

  • Rubbing their eyes a lot (except when tired, which is normal).
  • Having excessively watery eyes.
  • Sitting very close to the TV or holding books/objects close to their face.
  • Being clumsy and having poor hand/eye coordination.
  • Complaining about blurred or double vision or having unexplained headaches.
  • Screwing their eyes up or closing one eye when they read or watch TV.
  • Avoid reading, writing or drawing.
  • Closing one eye when they go out in bright sunshine.

Remember
If you’re worried, check it out. The earlier any problems are picked up, the better they can be treated.

Don’t forget to check out our video on getting your child’s eyes tested.