NEWBORN BABY'S EYES: WHAT'S NORMAL, WHAT ISN'T?

Dr. Jim Martin 08/19/2014

baby_sucking_thumb.jpgA newborn baby brings with it innumerable joys and concerns. Eye health and development in the newborn is often a subject that isn’t given much attention and leaves a wide range of questions for parents. So what’s normal and what should be given medical attention?

What’s Normal?

A healthy newborn is very nearsighted at birth and their sight gradually develops. In fact, the best visual distance for newborns is within 10 inches of their face. This is often confused by the fact that newborns are able to respond to light and follow its movement. You’ll find your newborn won’t initially be capable of seeing the mobile hanging from the crib, but over the first three months his/her vision will improve.

What Isn’t Normal?

Taking cues from the physical appearance of the eyes is often your best strategy. Be on the look out for:

Uncoordinated eyes - The muscles of the eyes must be strengthened and trained, much like any other muscle in the newborn's body. If you notice, however, that the eyes are uncoordinated, or one eye seems to wander, you should seek a consultation. Getting the right advice on how to correct this problem early is the best method of lessening the effects.

Crossed eyes - If you see that your infant's eyes turn inward, or crossed, you should make an appointment to see an eye specialist.

Teary eyes or discharge - The sensitive tear ducts of a newborn can sometimes become blocked. In many cases, this will correct itself after the first year, but seeing an eye doctor is advisable. Discharge, or excessive tearing, can also indicate an infection, injury, or another underlying problem that must be addressed to prevent damage.

Abnormal coloring - If the color of the eyes change, such as the pupil no longer being black, a ring developing around the iris, or abnormal iris coloring, it can mean a serious medical condition and requires an examination by a specialist. The color, shape and size of the eye are especially important indicators for abnormal conditions of the newborn eye.

When it comes to the development of your newborn's vision and the health of their eyes, it’s often best to ask question rather than assume that what you are seeing is normal. Subtle changes in the appearance of the eye often mean there’s something more happening with the structure of the eyeball itself and should be address by a well-qualified doctor.

You’ll find the caring attention and helpful information you need from the Amarillo eye doctors at Broome Optical, where our professionals will take the time to explain your newborns condition and treatment options. Contact us for an appointment and have your questions answered.

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