Baby eyesight

At birth:

  • While your baby’s eyes can focus at birth, he doesn’t know what he’s looking at
  • Your baby can focus best on objects that are about 20 to 35 cm from his eyes
  • He will enjoy looking at faces best – though he won’t recognise them – and is capable of staring at a face for a long period of time.
  • Objects that are further away will appear blurry.
  • His eyes may appear occasionally cross-eyed as he doesn’t have full control of his muscles and so his eyes may lag behind for a moment when he moves his head.
  • Your baby will be able to focus on contrasting bright colours better than on pale colours.
  • His eyes will appear dark at this stage, though as more pigment is formed in the iris, his eye colour may change. Most babies’ eyes have finished changing by the time they’re 6 months.

By 2 months:

  • Your baby will be able to fix his eyes on an object
  • He will be able to follow moving objects with his eyes – mobiles provide great entertainment at this stage
  • He is beginning to recognise familiar faces

By 3 months:

  • His long-range vision is improving and he can now follow you from across a room.
  • He is just beginning to develop hand-eye co-ordination and will reach out to touch an object he see
  • He has better control over the muscles in his eyes – so he should stop appearing cross-eyed at this stage.

By 4 months:

  • Your baby will reach for objects and bring them up to his face for a closer look
  • He can see and focus on objects and people who are moving fast.
  • He will look around at his environment and seek out interesting things to look at.

By 6 months:

  • He will begin to see objects in 3 dimensions – which also means he can begin to judge distance. This will enable him to be able to successfully reach out and pick up objects from a range of distances.
  • He will be very engaged with his environment, moving his head constantly to see what is going on around and behind him.
  • He will be able to look at the illustration in a picture book for a short time.

By 8 months:

  • Your baby will now be able to hold objects in clear focus and his hand-eye co-ordination is rapidly improving.
  • If he drops an object, he will look in the right direction to find it.

By 12 months:

  • He can clearly recognise people from a distance of several metres
  • Your baby’s 3-D vision is well developed now, which is necessary before he can learn to walk.


This article was written by Ella Walsh for Kidspot. Sources include Child Health and Raising Children Network.

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