As parents or guardians, it can be difficult to know what is normal and what is not. For this reason, we have produced this little guide below.
What should the eyes appear like at birth?
At birth, both eyes just need to open with no unusual appearance to either eye. The eyes will usually be examined briefly in the first few days, to try to identify any major issues that may be present.
What is the vision like in the first few months of life?
At around 6 weeks, babies will follow bright lights and observe faces. They start to reach out for things at 3 months, and observe details in objects a month or two later. At this point, at nearly 6 months, they also begin to mimic facial expressions. They will have developed good colour vision by this point too. Between 6 and 12 months old, they begin to appreciate objects both nearby and in the far distance. All this time from birth onwards, the eyes and the brain are constantly changing and developing, and continue this development in the coming years.
What do I do if there is a “white pupil” in my child’s eyes in a photograph?
You may have heard that a “white pupil” can indicate a serious issue, such as a retinoblastoma. If you have multiple photographs where one or both eyes appear to have a “white pupil,” then it is more likely that there is an issue. However, it may just be the angle of lighting and the photography that may be giving the eyes a certain appearance. Either way, it is best to consult your eye care practitioner immediately with any concerns.
What do I do if I suspect a turn in the eyes?
Some babies appear to have a turn in the eyes in their first year of life. This can sometimes resolve by itself. Sometimes, a baby’s facial features can make it appear like there is a turn, as the bridge of the nose or the eyelids are still developing, for example. This is called a pseudo-squint and is not really a turn in the eyes and is of no concern at all. In other cases, the turn indicates a problem as it may be a true squint and will require management. In any case, it is best to consult your eye care practitioner for advice.
When should I get my child’s eyes tested?Your child can be tested at any age (yes, that’s right, any age!). If there is any reason to suspect a problem, such as parents or siblings with glasses or amblyopia, or the baby has a turn in the eyes, then an eye care practitioner should be consulted immediately, irrespective of the child’s age. At the very latest, we advise the first test to be around 4 years old.
Don’t wait for your child to complain about their vision – they don’t know any different to what they’re seeing already!
Useful link: click here for important information regarding children’s eye care.