Skip to main content

Eye Exams in Infants

baby girl yellow glassesEye Exams in Infants: Birth – 24 Months

A baby’s visual system develops rapidly over the first year of life. They learn to focus near and far. They learn to use and move their eyes together as a team. Their brain learns how to process information from the eyes to understand and interact with the world around them, which forms the foundation for further motor development such as crawling, walking, and hand-eye coordination.

At Birth
  • Focuses on objects less than a foot away, such as mom’s face when nursing
By 3 Months
  • Follows moving objects
  • Eyes begin tracking together
By 6 Months
  • Both eyes should focus equally
  • Brainwaves demonstrate the ability to see 20/20 detail
  • Eye/body coordination begin to develop


By 9 Months
  • Eye contact begins to replace physical contact
  • Eye/body coordination skills develop further
By 12 Months
  • Eyes begin to judge varying distances



Since the most critical stages of vision development occur in the first year of life, we believe that a comprehensive eye examination should be an integral part of infant wellness care. At Derby City Eye Care, we provide this examination at no cost as part of the national InfantSEE® program (see below).

During this exam, the doctor will ask about the birth history, developmental milestones, medications, allergies, health conditions, and family history of vision problems and eye diseases. Though babies cannot talk, the doctor can still evaluate how well the baby is seeing far and near with the help of toys, cards, and lighted objects. The doctor will also shine a light in the baby’s eyes and move the light around to check the alignment of the eyes and to make sure that the baby’s pupils are reacting and their eye muscles are working together.

The doctor will then use a special hand-held lighted instrument (called a retinoscope) and small, hand-held lenses to determine if the baby is nearsighted, farsighted, or has any astigmatism that needs to be corrected with eyeglasses.

The final part of the infant eye examination is checking the health of the baby’s eyes for any conditions that could impair their eye health or vision. This is done with another special lighted hand-held instrument (called an ophthalmoscope). It gives the doctor an enlarged, detailed view of the baby’s eyelids, corneas, conjunctiva, irises, lenses, retinas, optic nerves, and maculae.

Our eye doctor in Crestwood, KY will then discuss their findings and recommendations with you and answer any questions you have about your baby’s eye health.

  • This service offers early detection of potential eye and vision problems at no cost regardless of income or ability to pay. It is a one-time, comprehensive eye and vision assessment for babies, usually conducted between the ages of 6 and 12 months.