What can Parents Do to Help Improve Kids Vision Development?

What can Parents Do to Help Improve Kids Vision Development

Vision of a baby develops gradually, even after birth up until the first 2 to 3 years. It needs to be taken care of with utmost care to ensure healthy eyes throughout life. The following if adhered to properly will do just the same. 

BIRTH TO 4 MONTHS: 

  • It is best to use a dim light in the baby’s room or when the baby is asleep. By this age only peripheral vision develops and the eyes are extremely sensitive to bright light.  The retina is still developing, and color vision is not yet enhanced. Hence, it is extremely important to keep the baby under the morning sun for a few hours only and then keep him/her in a dark room especially while sleeping. Also, a dark room closely resembles the womb of the mother, allowing a sense of familiarity to the baby. 
  • Change the position of the crib or the baby often, to ensure that light is not focused only on one area of the eyes.  
  • Keep things familiar to the baby close by. Depth and distance perception develop much later so it is better to keep the baby’s toys close by. 
  • While breast feeding offer both the breasts to the child. This will change their position between right and left often, thus distributing the focus of the light to all parts of the eye. 
  • Ensure that your baby is aware of your presence – either talk or let them see you. This will not startle them, thus reducing stress on the already sensitive and curious brain. 

5 TO 8 MONTHS: 

  • By now the baby is griping and willing to hold on to things to understand its nature. A little bit of distance perception occurs, and central vision starts developing. Hang toys over the crib or keep them close enough for the baby to touch them. With age curiosity increases to touch, feel, hear, smell and taste things. Until a certain age, this is how the vision assists in developing all the senses of the body in the baby. 
  • Let the baby have a designated play area to learn and explore. 
  • Give wooden toys to the child. 
  • Be careful of the size of the things – if too small there is a chance of putting them in the mouth and swallowing, by accident. 
  • Play with your hands and let the baby follow the command – this improves their eye-brain coordination and will motivate them toward movement. 
  • At 6 months of age, it is advisable to take the baby especially a premature baby to an ophthalmologist for a general eye check-up.  

9 TO 12 MONTHS: 

  • By this phase memory will start to develop. Every visual stimulus will be stored by the brain for future reference and thus enabling the baby confidence to move and touch objects and people. 
  • The baby will slowly start recognizing his/her mother or primary care giver. Play hide and seek to enhance memory. 
  • Start naming objects to create a sense of familiarity. Some children will immediately recognize a toy even if only half of it is shown to them. They start reacting now to stimulus instead of just observing. 
  • Encourage them to crawl and reach out for things. Do not hand it over so easily.  
  • Check if both the eyes are following command simultaneously. Check if their alignment is proper. Any deviation from normal must be reported to the ophthalmologist. 

1 TO 2 YEARS: 

  • By now the central vision is developed and the child is ideally walking and responding by making noise. 
  • Improve their gait, visual tracking, and visual acuity by giving things back and forth. 
  • Read to them or tell them stories to enhance their visualization and memory. This is a big learning curve for babies – they absorb a lot and very easily at this age. As a parent it is important that they recognize their babies ability and improve  on it. 
  • To develop their motor skills and finer movements give them blocks, or shapes or puzzles to solve.  
  • Observe for any changes in the alignment or eye-body coordination. 

The physician checks for the following while examining eyes: 

  • At birth corneal reflex is checked for. A small cotton swab is gently rubbed over the cornea and the reaction is gauged. A healthy eye blinks on stimulus. 
  • Pen light exam: light is gently torched at the baby from one corner of the eye to another. Healthy eyes follow the light command, moving the eyeballs along with the light. The size of the pupils is checked for, the eyelids are checked – whether they are droopy or not. Eye movement is checked in each eye separately as well. 
  • Any infection or inflammation in the eye is checked for.   
  • Any abnormal discharges upon stimulation, any discoloration of the sclera is also looked into. 
  • Most importantly, family history Is asked to check for any genetic tendencies. 
  • Squint (abnormal alignment of the eyes), strabismus are checked for – if detected early errors can be corrected to a certain extent. 
  • Any twitch in the eye is checked for.  
  • The physician will check how the baby responds to light by keeping the baby in a dark room and then giving the stimuli. Normally the pupils enlarge to accommodate the light as a reflex. Any deviation from normal can be indicative of cataract or tumors. 

NOTE: Ensure that the baby is fed properly. Well-nourished babies growing in a caring environment reach all milestones with ease. 

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