Although babies have eyesight as soon as they are born their eyes take time to adjust to the world. As their eyes gradually develop, it is perfectly normal for them to function unusually within the first three months and it is common for babies’ eyes to be crossed during this period. Yet, it is important to look out for signs that could indicate a more serious problem. The earliest these signs are detected then the better the chance they can be treated. If undetected, these problems can persist into adulthood and cause further issues such as learning difficulties and low self-esteem.
Babies are unable to follow anything colorful or detailed with their eyes until about six weeks after birth. This age is a prime time to start monitoring your baby’s eyes more closely.
To monitor your baby’s ability to focus, you can undertake a simple test to see if their eyes follow you around the room. If you find that your baby’s eyes easily wander or cannot focus on your movement for a long period of time, this may be a cause for concern.
To discover whether there is a problem in just one of your baby’s eyes, cover each of your baby’s eyes in turn. If they seem to become anxious or uncomfortable when one eye is covered then this could suggest a problem with the vision in this eye.
When they are older than 3 months, begin to point out objects that are varying distances away. If your baby struggles to focus on these objects then this could also indicate a problem.
Signs of a Problem
Aside from carrying out these simple tests, there are other signs you can look out for. As we covered earlier, at a young age, eye problems could just be a natural part of your babies’ eye development with no cause for concern. Yet, we still recommend consulting your optician if any of the following apply:
- Your baby’s eyes move abnormally, at separate times or in separate directions
- Your baby squints regularly
- Your baby often rubs his/her eyes even when not tired.
- Your baby tilts his/her head to view objects.
- Your baby’s eyes seem to wiggle or jump.
- Your baby’s eyes appear sensitive to light
- Your baby is more than four weeks old but bright lights from the television, a mobile phone or toys don’t catch his/her attention.
- Your baby cannot follow objects that move from side to side in front of him/her.
- One or both of your baby’s eyelids appears to be drooped
- One of your baby’s eyes is always closed
- One or both of your baby’s eyelids appear to be abnormally bulging
- You notice a yellow or greyish-white covering over the pupil of one or both of your baby’s eyes.
- Your baby has a persistent redness in their eyes
- There is pus or crust present in the eyes.
- Your baby’s eyes are often wet from tears.
- Your baby’s eyes remain turned in or out.
If you notice any of these problems then it is important to seek advice from your opticians. It may only take a short examination to discover whether the problem is serious but should there be a further cause for concern, your optician can refer you to an ophthalmologist.