Healthy eyes play a critical role in a child’s development

One of the most unforgettable moments for a new parent is when their child looks at them for the first time. Although the innocent eyes are mesmerising, the visual abilities of a baby are not fully developed at the time of birth. Their capacity to focus, move their eyes and assimilate all the visually gathered information develops gradually after birth.

The period between the birth of your baby and until she turns 2-years-old is the most crucial period of her visual development. Let’s take a look at the different visual milestones of an infant.

Birth – 4 months – The vision of an infant is abuzz with a lot of visual stimulation. Though they may look attentively at two different objects, they are able to focus only on objects that are about 8 to 10 inches from their face.

Five – Eight months – At this juncture, there is more control over eye movement and eye-body coordination. The babies have a better understanding of depth perception. They begin to differentiate between objects that are near and further from them. Colour vision shows significant improvement during this period.

Nine to Twelve months – This is a fast growth period for eye-body coordination.

One to two years – By 2 years, a baby develops good hand eye coordination and depth perception. They are able to recognise different pictures.

During this crucial 0 to 2 years, parents have a very significant role to play in enhancing visual stimulation in their children. Using colourful and stimulating toys, hanging colourful objects on the crib are some of the time and tested methods to captivate a baby.

Today, with the advent of smart technology comprising of phones, computers, TV etc, we often find parents are spoilt for choices in providing the necessary visual stimulation. Babies also gravitate towards them as the objects are colourful, fast-paced and are aided by a good acoustic system.

But as parents, do we pause to think if all these smart technology enabled visual tools actually help or stall the visual development of the baby? Today, the screen has become an apt babysitter. Definitely, a point to ponder!

According to medical experts, new technologies are definitely a deterrent to a healthy development of functional vision. It is not a mere eyesight precision but the ability to accurately understand visual space like depth perception, following text, tracking a moving object. All the above understanding are necessary to function in the three-dimensional world we live in. Our eyes must have the ability to assimilate far and near objects. The eyes also need to work as a team by focusing on a single point on an object to aid the brain to combine the images into a 3-D object. There is also a risk of irreversible eye impairment due to constant exposure to blue light emissions from digital devices.

So what exactly happens when a baby’s eyes are technology abused? To start, with continuous exposure to the screen, the baby’s visual system is exposed to a lot of stress. Over a period of constant usage, the functional vision of a baby becomes distorted. As the baby’s lens is still developing, the blue light emissions penetrate efficiently and directly into the retina. In extreme cases, the emissions can also lead to early onset of muscular degeneration.

If it is unavoidable to disengage your baby from smart technology devices, make sure you engage them in healthy physical games like ball-related activities. Any kind of activity that has an object moving in space. This will help the baby perceive moving objects. Getting them outdoors is the only way out!