Hi Ma! Oh, don’t pinch yourself; this really is your baby talking to you… I overheard how people were confusing you about my eyes and what I can see…
“I have heard that babies are as blind as a bat when they are born!”
“Did you know that babies see things upside down for a few months?”
“Oh no! I have heard that all a newborn can see is just shadows!”
Ma, you must be wondering what it is that I can actually see when you wiggle that shiny rattle at me. Here are the facts on what I actually do see…
At birth: I’ll be honest ma, my vision is pretty fuzzy. Though I can make out shapes, light and movement, I can only see about 8 – 15 inches away… which means nothing much beyond your face when you hold me. Don’t tell our neighbor this… let her be happy thinking I can spot her waving out to me from across the room.
1 month: Now, I am able to focus both my eyes a little better. You can now heave a sigh of relief because the instances when I appeared cross-eyed will reduce as compared to last month. Hey, I am also learning to track a moving object like when you move that napkin from one side to the other in front of my eyes!
2 months: Though I could see colours right from birth, I couldn’t differentiate similar tones. By the way, I loved the red cradle that daddy got for me. (Or was it orange?) Now I have begun to distinguish colours and love seeing the detailed designs on your saris, Ma.
4 months: Guess what, I have begun to develop perception of depth. Until now, it was such a Herculean task for me to locate something’s position, shape and size and then get my brain to tell my hand to reach out for it! But now, it’s becoming easier for me to coordinate all my moves. And how I love practicing my new skills on pulling your hair! (Your expression later is an added bonus too!)
5 months: Hah! Spotting small items and tracking moving objects is now a cakewalk! I can even recognize things only after seeing a part of it. I absolutely love playing peekaboo with you…because I have begun to get the concept of object permanence (knowing that an object exists even if I can’t see it at the moment). I can also differentiate between similar bold colours and will soon start working on more minute differences in pastels. Aren’t I growing up fast, Ma?
8 months: Hurray! My vision is almost as good as you in its depth perception and clarity. Though I tend to focus my attention on things that are close by, my eye sight is now strong enough to recognize people from across the room. Yeah, now when I smile at our neighbour, I mean it!
Ma, here are a few things that you can do to encourage my vision development in this period:
• Give me brightly coloured or black and white toys with interesting patterns and good contrast.
• Allow me to have loads of face-to-face time with adults. Look into my eyes often. I would love to see various facial expressions or even silly faces!
• Experiment with different lighting in my room. Open the curtains and let the natural light into my room or let me have times with dim lighting too.
• Dress me in colourful socks with various interesting patterns.
• Read colourful books out to me and do remember to hold them close to my face so that I can see the images well.
• Keep my eyes protected when we go outside.
Ma, I know you get all worked up even if I so much as sneeze even once… so here are a few instances when you should be worrying about my eyes for real:
• My eyes jiggle and can’t hold still.
• My eyes are crossed most of the time.
• One of my eye’s pupils (the coloured part of our eyes) appears white.
• My eyes can’t track an object with both eyes even by the time I am 3 or 4 months old.
• My eyes have trouble moving (either one or both eyes) in all directions.
• My eyes seem sensitive to light and water persistently.
Oh I know you are itching to ask me lots of other questions Ma… like why do I smile in my sleep or why do I cry without apparent reason at times… let’s leave all those for another day. Can I have my soup now? All this talking has tired me out!