In your baby’s first 6 months, it’s pretty normal for them to stare at lights and other moving things. This is because they are learning so many new things by this age, like crawling and interacting with their environment. It’s too early to tell if it’s a developmental issue, and your baby’s eyes are not very sensitive to light in the first month after birth.
Babies’ vision starts to develop even before they are born. So how the mother eats and takes care of herself during pregnancy is very important and will affect her baby’s body and mind, including the eyes and the vision centers in the brain.
It’ll also help to know how your baby’s eyes develop for the first year of his life. Here are some of the details that you need to know about their development.
Vision development for the first year
Newborn (0-1 month)
- Soon after birth, an antibiotic ointment is usually applied to a baby’s eyes for an eye infection to be prevented from bacteria that might be in the birth canal.
- Babies don’t see much detail in the first week of life, their first view of the world is blurry and only in black, white, and shades of gray since the nerve cells that control vision in the retina and brain are not yet fully developed.
- A one-week baby can see red, orange, yellow, and green, but it takes a little longer for them to be able to see blue and violet. Blue light has shorter wavelengths, and fewer color receptors exist in the human eye for blue light.
- At birth, your baby’s eyes are already 65% of their adult size, a newborn’s eyes can’t focus on near objects just yet.
Newborn (1 month)
- The amount of light needs to be 50 times higher compared to an adult for them to be aware that there is light insight.
- They start to develop the ability to see in colors very quickly, compared to their first week.
- Don’t worry if your baby doesn’t look at you directly, they are still developing their focus bu this stage.
Newborn (2-3 months)
- Your baby is now learning to shift their gaze from one object to another without moving their head.
- They will also start to follow moving objects and try to reach for things that they see.
- Their eyes are now becoming more sensitive to light. At 3 months, your baby’s light detection threshold is only 10 times that of an adult. You may now want to dim the lights a bit more while they’re sleeping.
Infant (4-6 months)
- Your baby’s eyesight improves from about 20/400 at birth to roughly 20/25 at 6 months of age.
- Color vision should be similar to that of an adult as well, they can now see most of the colors around them.
- By your little one’s 6th month, they should have their first children’s eye exam except if they had eye complications earlier.
Infant (7-12 months)
- Your baby is crawling all over the place by this time, they are also getting better at judging distances and more accurate at grabbing and throwing things.
- They are now developing a better overall awareness of their body and learning how to coordinate their vision with their movements.
- They are starting to actively explore their environment and might get bumps and scratches while doing it so babyproofing by this stage is a good idea.
Tips to stimulate your baby’s eyesight
According to American Optometric Association, our baby has to learn to see! As their primary caregivers, there are many things that we could do to help them staring with nutrition.
Feeding your baby with the right amount of food that is good for the eyes is very important. Foods like salmon, tuna, spinach, kale, eggs, carrots, nuts, and many more.
Besides their food, here are some of the things that will help your baby improve their visual development:
- Keep it bright and light – Decorate their room with bright and cheerful colors, may it be an artwork or a colorful wall.
- Add textures and shapes – Besides the color, you might want to add things in their room or in your house that has different shapes and textures to help them be familiar with them.
- Switch things up – Frequently change the placing of existing items, including their crib, or add new things to get their attention.
- Walk and talk – Talk to your baby while moving for them to exercise their ability to follow a moving object using their eyes.
- Night light – Keep a light on at night to provide visual stimulation when they are awake in their crib.
- Let them crawl – Put them on their stomachs when they are awake and you can supervise them. This provides important visual and motor experiences. Get down on the floor with your baby and encourage them to crawl toward objects.
- Safe play – Give them toys or objects that they could build and take apart like blocks or stack cups.
My baby looks at lights so much. Is it a sign of autism?
Depending on your baby’s age, looking at lights does not automatically mean your child is showing signs of autism.
For the first 6 months, it is pretty common for babies since their vision is still developing and their eyes are not that sensitive to lights as adults.
Your concern is very much valid, and you might want to check other signs of autism and talk to your pediatrician to confirm your observations.
Are bright lights bad for babies?
Your baby’s eyes are not very sensitive to light in the first month after birth. In fact, the amount of light required for a 1-month-old infant to be aware that light is present is 50 times higher than that of an adult.
By 3 months, their eyes are now becoming more sensitive to light. By this age, an infant’s light detection threshold is only 10 times that of an adult.
It’s pretty normal for a parent to get worried about any unusual activity the baby does, and it’s better than not knowing your child’s development.
After all, making sure that we give them what they need is our primary role as their parents. Talk to your pediatrician and get the peace of mind you deserve, or if your baby needs help, early intervention is the best way you could help them.
Feel free to share your experiences and thoughts about this topic in the comment section below; I hope this article helped you in any way. Take it easy, stay safe and healthy.