Visual Development


  • Can see color variations and contrasting colors up close, but with fewer lines and textures than ours
  • Can't distinguish between pastel colors or two similiar colors
  • Sensitive to light
  • Visual regard for environment
  • Random eye movements
  • Monocular vision
  • Eyes move together with head
  • Track in small ranges from periphery to midline (out to in)

1 Month
  • Alternating monocular fixation on hand or moving, large target w/in 10 inches (25.4cm)
  • Slow, jerky tracking from periphery to midline

2 Months
  • Beginning binocular fixation (overlapping field of view)
  • Tracks slightly past midline with head rotation
  • Beginning vertical tracking

3 Months
  • Observes the hand
  • Improved binocular fixation
  • Tracking horizontally through 180 degrees eyes and head together
  • Shifts glance between two targets
  • Can distinguish between pastel colors

4 Months
  • Visually directed reach and grasp
  • Eyes begin to move independently from head
  • Visually fixates on nearly objects longer
  • Briefly fixates on object further spatial fields
  • Begins to scan 3 or more objects, may lose fixation in the process

5 Months
  • Sees objects and reaches for it: eyes and hand establish partnership
  • Improved horizontal, vertical, circular tracking
  • Can scan 3 or more objects with more consistent fixation

6 Months
  • Eyes move independently from head
  • Consistent binocular fixation at all distances
  • Accurate and consistent tracking in all directions
  • Shifts gaze easily to scan several objects
  • Shifts gaze easily from one distance to another
  • Fully developed visual control

Compiled from Developmental Visual Dysfunction: Models of Assessment and Management by Rhoda Priest Erhardt , Normal Development of Functional Motor Skills: The First Year of Life by R. Alexamder, R. Boehme, B. Cupps & Arlene Drack, M.D. chief of pediatric ophthalmology at the Children's Hospital in Denver (featured in BabyTalk Magazine, March 2006).

Success Through Play:

Research has shown that newborn babies demonstrate a distinct visual preference for human faces and eye contact, as early as a few days of life. Your face is a "natural toy" so don't forget to use it! Using make-up to highlight your eyes and lips. Ensure that you are well lit, and that what you are wearing, contrasts with your background. For example a parent wearing a white T-shirt situated against a light background would not provide a great enough contrast.

Stay tuned for Activities for Hand & Visual Development


Anonymous said...

Very interesting yet again. I had never considered the idea that my clothing and background contrast would be such an important issue to a childs' perceptions. This reminds me of how one might compose a photograph for best outcome. Now that I understand this, it really makes a lot of sense. In terms of make-up, well my wife might be comfortable but I will have to think of what lipstick works best for my coloring (smile), but will my wife be willing to share her favorite shade...

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful blog. I tried to post a message before but I can't retrieve it, so I guess something went wrong. The information you provide is very helpful, I think many people (like me) wonder what a baby can see and do at a certain age. Thank you for sharing their world with us!

Success Through Play said...

Thank you for your comments. Sorry about the "missing" comment. I was able to retrieve it. I am still getting used to all the features on blogger and I think that I may have inadvertently clicked on the "hide comments" option. Thank you for alerting me.

Anonymous said...

This list is SO helpful. I appreciate you listing a range along with percentages.....I want to be pro-active in tracking my daughters milestones without freaking out. This allows me to do just this. I just found your blog. It's terrific.