At what age does a baby see? How is the organ of sight formed? Think you know everything about visual perception? Expect to be surprised.

At birth, babies’s vision is not yet mature, they see blurred. But very quickly, babies’s vision take shape as a result of the combination of biological maturation and environmental stimuli. The small children quickly understand that the development of their vision is essential for learning and integrating new information.

“The 5 senses for kids Foundation” invites you to discover the evolution of vision in the toddler.

Sight, a very important sense

To begin with, we should remember that sight plays a special role. It is the most highly developed sense in human beings. Seeing is not just about looking at and following people or objects.

Vision also allows us to find our way in space, to direct our attention, to choose the visual information to be processed. It also includes learning to recognise familiar faces and places.

The sense of vision is the foundation of our learning and our relationship to the world.

Vision in utero : the last sense to develop

The sense of sight is the one we use the most. Yet all the other perceptual channels develop before it !

Around the 24th week of pregnancy, the retina and the optic nerve begin to develop. At around 7 months of pregnancy, fetuses become sensitive to light, and even distinguishe different shades of light. However, the darkness in the mother’s womb and the lack of stimulation do not give them the opportunity to develop their sight further.

How children’s sense of sight develops

When babies are born, they move from a dark environment to a very bright place. Their eyes are particularly sensitive to light. If the light is too strong, they will close their eyes. And they will prefer places where the light is dimmed.

Remember to be gentle on your newborn child’s eyes. If possible, reduce the light intensity in the living area.

The development of child’s eyesight then goes through different phases. At “5 senses for kids Foundation” we are particularly thrilled by the adventure of the development of human vision.

Birth to 3 months : infant vision

  • When an object is close to babies’s face, they begin to stare at it and follow it with their eyes.
  • During the first two months, they tend to squint. This is quite normal, as their eyes are not yet in synchrony.
  • Around 2 months, they recognise familiar faces.
  • At around 3 months, they perceive the details of images and identifies familiar objects. They are captivated by their moving hands, and they begin to stare into the distance.

Although vision is not yet mature, scientific studies have shown that infants have a preference for human faces. This attraction to faces plays an important role in the early relationship between mother and child, including emotional, relational and cognitive development.

From 4 to 6 months : how babies see

  • Their eyes coordinate: they no longer squint.
  • They follow elements that move vertically. In addition, they begin to turn his head.
  • They observe their environment carefully.
  • At around 6 months, they can distinguish small objects and reliefs and begin to understand distance.
  • They perceive emotions such as joy or sadness on faces.
  • They can see red, green and yellow, and finally blue. Then, all the shades of colours !

From 7 to 12 months : the evolution of babies’s eyes

  • Now they can visually distinguish between known and unknown people.
  • The eyes are well synchronised: they perceive in 3D.

From 1 to 2 years : visual capacity matures

  • By the age of 1, their distance vision has improved considerably. They can see people from very far away!
  • They see action outside the room where they are.
  • They looks at picture books, turn the pages and point to an object or person in a drawing.
  • By the age of 2, visual acuity is 20/20 !

From 3 to 5 years : the development of vision is now complete

  • The retina is fully formed.
  • Now they can make an association between the images in a book and the narration of a story.

Vision problems in children : how to spot them

5 senses for kids Foundation” recommends that you consult an ophthalmologist if certain signs are present. If a child repeatedly :

  • is very sensitive to light
  • has frequent headaches
  • is cross-eyed after 6 months
  • cannot follow an object
  • blinks frequently
  • bumps into things

Recommended play activities to encourage vision development

“5 senses for kids Foundation” recommends some visual games.

From birth to 3 months :

Hanging a cute mobile above the crib or changing table.

From 4 months to 6 months :

  • Play with them by manipulating objects of different colours and shapes.
  • Make faces and grimaces to entertain them.

From 7 months to 12 months :

  • Play the “hidden peekaboo” game together.
  • Have the children catch soap bubbles.
  • Drawing, painting, cutting out paper.
  • Finding hidden objects.

From 1 to 2 years

  • When we go shopping, have them discover fruit and vegetables.
  • Have them draw pictures to illustrate a story you have told them.

From 3 to 5 years old

  • Playing puzzle games.
  • Playing bingo games.