Children don’t often complain about how they see and may not even be aware they have a visual problem. Developmental milestones let you know how your child’s vision is developing 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’s vision. The only way to know if your child has low vision is by having their vision tested.

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 see 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:

Changes to Eye Health


  • Whitish or cloudy appearance inside the pupil. Example: in photos the centre of the eye looks white
  • Swollen or encrusted eyelids
  • Excessive tearing when not crying
  • Bumps, sores or styes on or around the eyelids

Difficulties with Eye Position or Movement


  • Child does not watch or follow an object with the eyes by three months
  • Eye movements are frequently “wiggling,” “drifting,” “jerky” or uncoordinated
  • Eyes are misaligned (example: eye turns, crossing of the eyes) in babies over three months of age
  • Drooping eyelids
  • Drifting of one eye when looking at objects so that eyes do not move together

Signs of a Possible Vision Concern

Your child:

  • Does not follow or track a moving object or person
  • Does not look at and reach for a toy or object at the same time (by 2 years of age)
  • Squints, closes or covers one eye when looking at objects
  • Turns or tilts their head when looking at objects
  • Blinks or squints to see better
  • Avoids or seems sensitive to bright lights
  • Needs to sit very close to a screen or book to see it