Your child’s visual health matters

Remember the time your child opened his or her eyes for the very first time as a newborn?

That eye contact is possibly one of the greatest moments a new parent will experience. From then on, your child’s vision gets stronger with each passing day.

Fun fact: during the first week of life, babies actually don’t see much detail! Their first view of the world is indistinct and only in various shades of grey. It’s only when they are about two months old that babies start recognizing their parents visually.

Clear vision plays an absolute critical role in their development, ability to learn, and overall health. As your child’s fiercest advocate, you undoubtedly want them to thrive. This guide will help you understand the milestones of your infant’s vision and how you can further support the natural visual development of your child.

The main milestones

Here is a basic timeline of some selected key age-based milestones of an infant’s visual development. Remember each child is unique and may reach these milestones at different ages:

How to spot early signs of vision trouble 

Did you know that two-thirds of our brain’s functions are associated with vision(1)? The key moment in identifying a vision problem is often when children start learning to read. Imagine trying to see the difference between a circle and a square but being unable to see the square’s sharp corners, or mistaking an ‘e’ for an ‘o’. 

Unfortunately, about one in four children have a vision disorder that interferes with their ability to learn(2). In early childhood, the most common visual defects are hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism. Another common paediatric eye condition that parents should pay attention to is strabismus. If your child is often squinting then it might be of concern, so it’s always advised to get a full eye check-up.

The biggest vision problem of the schooling age group kids is myopia. It generally appears around the age of 6-8, progresses between 8 and 13 years of age and stabilises around the age of 20. Recent work from the Brien Holden Vision Institute estimates that by 2050, 5 billion (50%) people will be myopic and 1 billion (10%) highly myopic(3).

Myopia is a defect to be taken into account and it must be known that it can be made worse by increased screen time on one hand, and minimal outdoor time on the other. And since these bad habits have made their way into our ‘normal’ lives and are hard to completely get rid of, the earlier the detection and correction of poor vision, the easier it will be to give all children an equal opportunity to learn and succeed socially. 

The best way to do so is to equip your child with corrective lenses to stop their eyes from strenuously accommodating, namely tiring and damaging their eyes as they try to see objects in focus. Beyond that, spending time outdoors could also give their eyes a much deserved rest. Children with normal vision spend on average 3.7 more hours per week outdoors than those with myopia(4).

Beware of the sun!

While spending time outdoors is great for both your child’s physical and mental well-being, their eyes are as fragile as their skin at that age: they need strong protection from the sun’s UV rays. Remember that Sunstyle by Nikon Lenswear offers a wide choice of sunglasses with UV filters, suitable for children with and without prescription needs.

Let them have fun!

Many kids and teens have vision problems nowadays – from astigmatism to hyperopia and especially myopia. These problems can easily be corrected thanks to prescription eyeglasses that are designed to specifically fit children’s faces and which are available in a myriad of colours. 

This variety of frame shapes and colours can help your child feel that these glasses can also be a fashion accessory upon choosing with your optician. Beyond aesthetics, eyeglasses are all the more functional for children thanks to a variety of coatings that exist to enhance their experience. 

For instance, if your child has polycarbonate or high-index lenses, you should consider opting for an anti-reflective coating. In fact, this type of lens reflects more light, which can cause glare. The anti-reflective ability of a coating absorbs light and thus reduces this side effect. Thanks to this, your child would greatly benefit from improved vision and increased comfort. 

Because life is all about exploring and trying things at that age, SeeCoat™ Next, the latest coating by Nikon Lenswear, enhances the durability of lenses against scratches, damage, wear and tear, dust, water, and more. This allows your child to live out their first years worry-free. 

Your child is the apple of your eye

No doubt, parents play a pivotal role in the development of their child’s eye health. It is therefore important to stick to this threefold formula, let’s call it the three S’:

  • Screen time: engage in activities with your child away from the screen, life in the outdoors is absolutely key for his/her health (our apologies in advance for those grass and mud stains on their clothes)
  • Spot the signs: pay attention to the early signs of the visual conditions we’ve mentioned, especially when they start to learn how to read
  • Schedule: bring your child at least once a year for a full checkup.

Nikon Lenswear partners with carefully selected eye care professionals around the world, with whom you can make an appointment for an eye exam for your child and get more advice on the best glasses for him or her from our range of products.

(1) Richard S. Fixott, Col. (MC) U.S.A.F. Evaluation of Research on Effects of Visual Training on Visual Functions. American Journal of Ophthalmology. DOI: 10.1016/0002-9394(57)90012-0

(2) Krumholtz, I. (2000). Results from a pediatric vision screening and its ability to predict academic performance. Optometry (St. Louis, Mo.), 71(7), 426–430

(3) Holden BA, Fricke TR, Wilson DA, Jong M, Naidoo KS, Sankaridurg P, Wong TY, Naduvilath TJ, Resnikoff S. Global Prevalence of Myopia and High Myopia and Temporal Trends from 2000 through 2050. Ophthalmology. 2016 May;123(5):1036-42. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2016.01.006. Epub 2016 Feb 11. PMID : 26875007

(4) Sherwin JC et al. Ophthalmology. 2012;119(10):2141- 2151.