When your baby's first born, their vision isn't clear. It takes time for that to develop, and it happens progressively. As a result, it may be a while before you can really identify any potential signs of a vision problem. It's typical for a child's visual abilities to be limited in the first couple of months, but they should improve steadily after that. If not, it may be a good time to reach out to an optometrist. Continue reading more about some of the warning signs of vision trouble that every new parent should know.
Minimal Visual Reaction
Once your baby reaches a few months old, he or she should be responding to light and movement. Watch for signs that your child is following a toy when you move it across his or her line of vision. Failing to track toys this way or respond to light and other visual cues may be an indication that your little one has a vision problem.
Unusual Eye Movements
Watch your baby's eyes move when he or she is looking around. The eyes should be moving in unison when he or she is looking around. If one eye isn't moving or both eyes seem as though they're moving independently or in different directions, you'll need to talk with an optometrist about vision therapy.
You should also monitor how your baby's eyes are when they are at rest. If one or both eyes have turned in one direction or the other, such as pointing toward the noise or the temples, you're going to need to schedule a comprehensive eye exam.
If one of your child's eyes seems to be moving involuntarily, it could be an indication of muscle control problems. In these cases, it may require visual therapy with a specialist as your child gets older to help train the muscles in proper response and control.
The presence of diseases and other serious vision problems may not be common in infants, but it isn't impossible. As a new parent, it's important to understand some of the warning signs of problems like these, because they aren't always widely publicized. Understanding some of these physical signs may help you spot problems before they become severe.
For example, if you're seeing persistent white spots on your child's pupil, that's an indication that there may be a physical condition that needs treatment. Similarly, if you're seeing a spot on your child's eye in all of your flash photography, you'll want to have a thorough eye exam.
Drooping eyelids or one eye that's visibly larger than the other are also symptoms that you shouldn't ignore. If your child has an obvious sensitivity to bright light or seems to be squinting frequently, he or she may have vision problems.
If your child's eyes are tearing excessively, it could be an indication that he or she has a blocked tear duct. It's in your best interest to have an eye exam right away in this case, because it could increase your child's risk of eye infections. If your baby's eyes are red or encrusted, it may be an indication that there's already an infection there. Any eye infection should be treated as soon as possible to avoid further complications.
Babies are active and can be fidgety, which can make it tough to pin down eye movements sometimes. When you add their limited communication and an inability to articulate problems clearly, babies can be a struggle in terms of identifying vision problems. With the information presented here and the support of a pediatric optometrist and visual therapist, you should be able to not only identify but also treat most common vision problems your child could experience.