When Do Babies Start to Have a Fixed Gaze?
During the first year of life, your baby’s eyes and vision are going to go through drastic changes. The unfocused, uncoordinated gaze you notice in a newborn will transform into a fixed gaze within a matter of weeks. You can aid your little one’s vision development with certain visually stimulating activities and toys 1.
Newborns have very limited vision. Your baby’s vision is only 20/400 at birth, according to the University of Illinois College of Medicine. He was born with better peripheral vision, so he can see to the sides better than directly in front of him. At first, he will try to focus his eyes on objects positioned 8 to 15 inches in front of his face, but his eyes still have some developing to do to be able to hold a fixed, coordinated gaze.
After four weeks, your baby’s vision starts to improve. By the time he is 1 month old, he will start to see objects that are 1 to 3 feet in front of him. Around 6 to 8 weeks, your baby will start to fix his gaze and follow an object’s movement with better accuracy. He will not be able to hold this fixed gaze for a long time, but it's a start.
2- to 4-Months
Between month 2 and 4, your little one will be able to coordinate both of his eyes and they will be working together to move and focus on objects. With this new skill, his depth perception and three-dimensional vision starts to develop. He will be able to see objects several feet away and be able to fix his gaze on them for longer periods. Around this time, he will start to track objects that move in a half-circle around him.
To help him sharpen his visual skills, you can provide some interesting toys and activities. Simply holding your baby close and gazing into his eyes can help him develop his visual skills. Your face is one of your baby’s favorite objects to look at, so take feeding and cuddling time to do this activity. Slowly move objects back and forth in front of his face so he can track them with his eyes. He may move his whole head during this exercise. Brightly colored or high-contrast patterns work well for this. Secure an unbreakable mirror in your baby’s play area so he can gaze at and focus on the reflection.
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