Quite so often, newborns seem to gaze so intently at people’s faces. Did you ever know that in their first six months they don’t see what we see? Yes, they do not have fine perceptions of the facial details as adults until six months. They can only probably focus, studying our hairline or the outline of our face. Let’s take a quick look of how the tiny eyes visualize the world around them and how we as parents can help their development.
Newborn’s vision is 40 times less accurate than adults at seeing fine details. Yet they will try to move their eyes toward a pattern. Far away objects are blurry. This may explain why babies seem to gaze at nearby objects. So allow plenty of face-to-face time with adults and look into hereyes often. Change your facial expression (happy, surprise) or make silly faces 🙂 Try placing a mirror close by so that she can look at her own face.
Now, infants can focus intensely on a stationary small object like a paper bit or a button on your sweater. They show preference for bold patterns like stripes as it’s easier to see high contrast objects. When she is busy focussing at something on you, be still and allow her to do her own research. Black and white toys offer a good contrast.
By now, they can distinguish many colours such as red, blue, and green. Their visual acuity and sensitivity to contrast has improved, can also respond to changes in light. Let this be a period of colours for her. Dress her in colourful clothes, read colourful books and hold them close to her face so she can see the images clearly. Give way for natural light to reach her, and at times have candle light dinner with her.
At 2 to 3 months, there is a dramatic change. Shapes become clearer and most infants can recognize motion direction. Instead of regarding an object as a new one every time she sees it, there is a sense of recognition and memory. Depth perception is not yet developed fully. Surround her place with friendly objects with interesting geometric shapes to aid in depth perception.
There is a rapid improvement in a baby’s sight by the sixth month of life. At the point, the baby can focus at different distances. Motion detection continues, learns eye-hand co-ordination. At the end of this period, she may begin studying her hands or feet. Seeing an object beyond her reach can prompt her to reach for it. Her socks will catch her attention than anything else now.
During the next six months, a baby develops the ability to judge depth. Perception skills, such as visual memory and discrimination, are also acquired during the first two years. Certain aspects of adult vision are achieved as early as a person’s 4th birthday. Acuity reaches adult levels between 4 and 6 years of age.
Photos courtesy of Tony Young