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Infants

Even if no eye or vision problems are apparent, at about age 6 months, you should take your baby to your doctor of optometry for his or her first thorough eye examination.

Things that the optometrist will test for include:

  • excessive or unequal amounts of nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism

  • eye movement ability

  • eye health problems

These problems are not common, but it is important to identify children who have them at this young age. Vision development and eye health problems are easier to correct if treatment begins early.

InfantSEE® is the American Optometric Association’s public health program designed to ensure that eye and vision care becomes an integral part of infant wellness care to improve a child’s quality of life. Under this program, participating optometrists provide a comprehensive infant eye assessment between 6 and 12 months of age as a no-cost public service.

Babies learn to see over a period of time, much like they learn to walk and talk. They are not born with all the visual abilities they need in life. The ability to focus their eyes, move them accurately, and use them together as a team must be learned. Also, they need to learn how to use the visual information the eyes send to their brain in order to understand the world around them and interact with it appropriately.

Vision, and how the brain uses visual information, are learned skills.

From birth, babies begin exploring the wonders in the world with their eyes. Even before they learn to reach and grab with their hands or crawl and sit-up, their eyes are providing information and stimulation important for their development.

Healthy eyes and good vision play a critical role in how infants and children learn to see. Eye and vision problems in infants can cause developmental delays. It is important to detect any problems early to ensure babies have the opportunity to develop the visual abilities they need to grow and learn.