Signs Your Infant Has a Vision Problem (Video)

Symptoms may show when babies are two months old

infant smiling

Soon after babies are born, they begin growing accustomed to using their eyes. But if they are developing vision problems, the fact that they can’t speak or understand language yet can make detection difficult.

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Paul Rychwalski, MD, a pediatric ophthalmologist at Cleveland Clinic’s Cole Eye Institute, says parents can begin to identify problems when a baby is two months old.

Here are some things to check for. Dr. Rychwalski suggests contacting your pediatrician immediately if you notice any of these signs in your baby’s eyes. 

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  • Lack of tracking. “A normal full-term child will start to fixate on objects and track them from side to side as early as two to three months of age,” Dr. Rychwalski says. “Tracking is probably the most important thing at that age.”
  • Abnormal whiteness. If you see anything white in your baby’s eyes–or notice in photographs that your baby’s pupil is white–it could be a sign that a vision problem is developing.
  • Eyes not lining up with each other.  Dr. Rychwalski suggests paying close attention to the movement of your baby’s eyes. “Drifting of the eyes is common in early infancy, but a persistent crossing or drifting of the eye is also a sign of a problem,” he says.

Dr. Rychwalski says eye exams should begin at birth. Pediatricians will look for inconsistencies during well-child visits.

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