At birth, babies can’t see as well as older children or adults. Their eyes and visual system aren’t fully developed but significant development occurs during the first few months of life.

These developmental milestones mark early vision development and the progress of your child as they grow. You can use this list to help you decide if you need to talk to a health care professional about your child.

Developmental Milestones

  • Stares at surroundings when awake
  • Briefly looks at bright lights/objects
  • Blinks in response to light
  • Eyes and head move together

  • Eyes glance from one object to another
  • Eyes follow a moving object/person
  • Stares at caregiver’s face
  • Begins to look at hands, food and bottle

  • Eyes move to inspect surroundings
  • Eyes move to look for source of sounds
  • Swipes at or reaches for objects
  • Looks at more distant objects
  • Smiles and laughs when they sees you
  • Smiles and laughs

  • Eyes turn inward as objects move close to the nose
  • Watches activities in surroundings for longer time periods
  • Looks for a dropped toy
  • Visually inspects objects and people
  • Creeps toward favourite toy

  • Guides reaching and grasping for objects with the vision
  • Looks at simple pictures in a book
  • Points to objects or people
  • Looks for and points to pictures in books
  • Looks where they are going when walking and climbing

Talk to your health care professional immediately if you notice any of the following:

  • haziness or whitish appearance inside the pupil
  • does not make eye contact with you by three months of age
  • does not watch or follow an object with the eyes by three months
  • frequent “wiggling,” “drifting,” or “jerky” eye movements
  • misalignment between the eyes by three months (eye turns or crossing of the eyes)
  • swollen or encrusted eyelids
  • bumps, sores or styes on or around the eyelids
  • drooping eyelids
  • lack of coordinated eye movements
  • drifting of one eye when looking at objects
  • turning or tilting of the head when looking at objects
  • squinting, closing or covering of one eye when looking at objects
  • excessive tearing when not crying
  • excessive blinking or squinting
  • excessive rubbing or touching of eyes
  • avoidance of or sensitivity to bright lights