Visual development

How does a child’s vision develop?


A baby needs many different visual experiences. This is because all the cells for converting light into nerve impulses that exist in the child’s eye have not yet finished developing. By experiencing visual stimuli every single day, these cells develop. At the same time, they learn to control all the nerve connections in the brain. Visual development progresses rapidly over the first few weeks and most children can, in a short space of time, begin to look at the faces of mum and dad as they smile and talk to the child. You can always ask your district nurse or health visitor for good advice. There are certain milestones where your child should be able to respond as follows:

2 months:

Your child should now be able to make eye contact and maintain their gaze on your face for a longer period of time. Their eyes should also be able to follow you when you move your head.

4 months:

The child has been interested in their hands for a while now. They can now look at them, put them together and stuff them in their mouth. They may start to grab objects that you present to them rather clumsily.

6 months:

The eye movements are now well developed, and their eyes are good at following when you move a toy in front of the child’s face. The child can move things from one hand to the other. The child begins to recognise the faces of their mother, father and siblings.

12 months:

Has now developed a good visual strength in both eyes. The child gains amusement from drawings and pictures.

2 years:

Eyes, hands and body are now working well together. The child can find things that have the same colour and shape and point at pictures in the book that you suggest to them.

3-4-5-6 years:

During these years, all the visual functions become more and more assured. If you now discover that the development of the child’s sight is not so good – then it is still possible to retrain their vision. The older the child becomes, however, the harder it is to obtain a good result. Once your child is 6 years, their vision is almost fully developed.