It is recommended that an infant’s first eye examination be at the age of 6 months. At this point, we can make sure the visual system is developing properly as well as the structures inside the eye. If any hindrances to visual development are detected, early intervention can be provided to ensure healthy and normal development.
Vision, unlike the other senses, is under developed at birth. Vision then quickly develops after birth, to where a smiling face can be seen at about 1 month of age, and then colour vision is achieved at about 2-3 months of age. Depth perception and vision keep progressing as the infant gets older unless there is something hindering development.
Hindrances to visual development can range from a congenital cataract to a high spectacle prescription that may lead to amblyopia (“lazy eye”). If something like a cataract is found at this age, surgical intervention can be initiated. If something like high spectacle prescription is found at this age, we may prescribe spectacle correction or monitor. For clear vision to development, the eye must possess the ability to see clearly, if there is a condition like amblyopia then the eye cannot see clearly and thus will not develop the ability to see clearly. We typically like to treat amblyopia before the age of 6, however the earlier the easier and more successful treatment is, as the brain is more “plastic” at a younger age. Therefore, if there is a significant spectacle prescription, your eye doctor may prescribe glasses at as young an age as 6 months. These glasses are given to ensure proper visual development is achieved, allowing the child to have clear comfortable vision for the rest of their lives.
When looking for spectacles or glasses for your child, some eye doctors who deal with a lot of children will carry brands like Miraflex; which are flexible, non toxic, hypoallergenic spectacles that work well for infants and toddlers as well as older children who are rough on their spectacles. Our office deals with many children and infants and thus we carry this Miraflex line for these patients.