While it would be great if your baby’s first sight was a clear picture of their mom or dad, this is not necessarily the case. Infants’ eyesight for the first week of their life is relatively unclear. In reality, it will take a few months for your baby’s vision to fully develop.
Just like many other aspects of a baby’s body, eyesight development starts during pregnancy. This means that the mother can have influence on the infant’s eyesight. Factors influencing how the child develops include proper nutrition, supplements, smoking, and more.
Something that has been associated with poor infant vision is low birth weight. Common medications such as aspirin have the ability to potentially increase the risk of low birth weight. For this reason, it is important to always consult a doctor or specialist before taking any medication while pregnant.
After the baby is born, a doctor will be able to perform some exams to check on any possible neonatal eye problems as well as congenital cataracts. These are not all that common but can be serious and it is beneficial to have them diagnosed and treated as early as possible. An additional measure taken to ensure better eyesight for the baby is an antibiotic ointment administered to the newborns eyes to help prevent infection. This must be prescribed by the baby’s physician.
Newborns can initially only see in black and white. This again is a byproduct of the nerves and eyesight not being fully developed until later in life. Another aspect that is not fully developed is the ability to focus on close object. Interestingly enough though, infants still prefer to see their mother than anyone else even with all of these visual obstacles.
During their first month, infants are not very sensitive to light. This is why they are able to sleep in a room with the lights on. Specifically, they are around 50 times less sensitive to light than adults are. In around one week the babies will be able to start seeing colors. With the exception of blue and violet which take a little bit longer to be seen due to their shorter wavelengths in addition to the fact that the retina has less receptors for the color blue.
Many infants do not receive any eye exam in their first year. The earlier an exam is taken means if there are any issues they can be taken care of earlier and limits further consequences down the road. Consult a doctor about getting your infant an eye exam as soon as possible.