Dr. Zimmerman and Dr. Beaver are ready to provide the finest family eye care through the years. Pediatric eye care includes three of the six major stages of vision development.
Did you know that your vision changes throughout your lifetime? There are six major stages of vision development, categorized by age: Birth, Preschool, Elementary and Teen, Adult, Mature, and Senior. Throughout each phase, there are various vision milestones that should be met, as well as vision problems that can occur.
During an infant’s first months of life, their vision is constantly developing. Here are some milestones your baby should be making in the first year of life:
- 1 to 3 months: Begin to focus on people and objects
- 3 months: Follow a moving object
- 5 to 8 months: See various colors
- 8 to 12 months: Improve eye-hand-body coordination
If your baby has red and crusty eyelids, excessively teary eyes, severe sensitivity to light, or has developed a white pupil, you should contact an eye doctor. These could be indicators of possible vision problems for your baby. It is important to note that a baby’s first official eye examination should occur between 6 and 12 months of age.
The second stage of vision development is all about eye-hand-body coordination. For preschoolers, the simultaneous use of their eyes, hands, and body is a complex cognitive task. Preschool age children should have a full eye exam by the age of 3. As you watch your child interact with others and play independently, be on the lookout for possible indicators of visual development problems, such as:
- Sitting too close to objects or holding objects too close
- Excessive eye rubbing, head-tilting, or squinting
- Light sensitivity
- Coordination issues
- Activity avoidance
Elementary and Teen
As your child continues to grow, the demands on their vision are much greater during the elementary and teenage years. During this phase of vision development, nearsightedness and other vision conditions are often discovered. If you (or your child’s teacher) notice any of the following symptoms in your elementary age child or teenager, you should contact your child’s eye doctor:
- Trouble staying on task
- Uncomfortable or tired often
- Avoids reading
Vision problems during these school age years can lead to learning delays and behavioral issues, so it is important not to ignore these signs. Regular eye exams are especially important during this phase.