Vision is learned. Many vision skills are involved in the learning process. These vision skills can be practiced and improved.
Here is a brief summary of ideas to help a child’s vision skills develop faster and better.
A pediatrician or family doctor should examine a baby’s eyes at birth and during routine health check-ups for signs of congenital eye problems. Even though these cases are rare, early diagnosis and treatment is critical to a baby’s visual development.
Babies are not born with 20/20 vision. For the first 6-8 weeks of life, a baby’s eyes do not focus well. A baby’s hand-eye coordination and depth perception begin to develop.
Change baby’s position in the crib and alternate feeding positions.
Provide brightly colored toys and books that squeak.
Play “peek-a-boo” and “patty cake.”
The American Optometric Association recommends all babies be examined by an optometrist between the ages of 6-12 months to ensure healthy eyes and normal visual development.
A baby uses the hands and mouth to explore his environment. The baby is also using both eyes together to judge distances.
Encourage the baby to crawl. After crawling is mastered, don’t encourage early walking.
Provide plenty of stacking and take-apart toys.
Play “roll the ball” and “peek-a-boo.
A child is interested in exploring the environment. Eye-hand coordination and depth perception become well developed. Begin providing many experiences at the zoo, playground, pool, and water park.
Choose toys carefully. Provide building blocks, special books, and riding toys that are pushed with the feet.
The American Optometric Association recommends a comprehensive eye and vision examination by an optometrist for all children entering preschool or at age three. It is estimated that one-in-twenty preschoolers have a vision problem.
A preschooler is learning how to use vision for other learning experiences. Continue providing many visits to the zoo, playground, pool, or water park.
The American Optometric Association recommends a comprehensive eye exam by an optometrist for all children entering kindergarten, or age five, and regularly throughout the school-aged years. It is estimated that one-in-four children have a vision problem.
A child’s visionl skills continue developing during the school-aged years. Continue providing many experiences and games that encourage and support the development of visual skills.
Healthy eyes and good vision are essential to a child’s success in school.
"We know from the many observations of children's visual performance and the work of Arnold Gesell, MD at the Yale Institute of Child Development, that Dr. Gesell said: 'Vision is not a separate isolated function; it is profoundly integrated with the total action system of the child, his/her posture, manual skill, motor sets, intelligence, and even personality traits. Vision is so intimately identified with the whole child that we cannot understand it without considering the whole child.'
This is why the work of Vision First is so vital to our children’s welfare. With the myriad of health issues confronting the parent, knowledge of the impact of vision in the learning process needs to be the priority.”
Albert A. Bucar, OD, DOS, FAAO
Past President, Illinois Optometric Association
Past President, American Optometric Association
President, Ophthalmic Education Institute
Vision First Honorary Board Member