Visual Development Milestones – What should my child see or do? - Finchley's Multi-Award Winning Opticians Practice

Visual Development Milestones – What should my child see or do?

Your Child's Development Milestones:


  • Born with poor sight
  • Infant will blink or withdraw in response to bright light or touching eye
  • Eyes are frequently uncoordinated and often look crossed-eyed
  • Able to stare at object if held about 25cm away
  •  Initially fixes eyes on a face or light then begins to follow a moving object
  • Turns eyes and head to look at light sources
  • Briefly holds gaze on bright light or objects
  • Stares at surroundings
  • Blinks at camera flash

1 month

  • Looks at faces and pictures with contrasting black and white images
  • Can follow an object up to 90 degrees
  • Watches parent closely
  •  Tears begin to work
  • Moves eyes and head together

2 to 3 months

  • Begins to be able to see an object as one single image
  • Can look at hands
  •  More reliable when following light, faces, and objects

4 to 5 months

  • Beginning to reach hands to objects, may bat at hanging object with hands
  • Can stare at a block
  • Recognises bottle
  • Will look at self in mirror
  •  Will look at own hand
  • Follows adults or moving objects with eyes across midline
  • Begins moving eyes with less head movement
  • Watches own hands before face
  • Looks at hands, food, bottle when sitting
  • Watches face when spoken to
  • Briefly fixes still objects
  •  Reaches for small objects

5 to 7 months

  • Has full colour vision, able to see at longer distances
  • Can pick up a toy that is dropped
  • Will turn head to see an object
  • Likes certain colours
  •  Will touch own image in mirror
  • Tracks vertically and horizontally

7 to 12 months

  • Can stare and pick-up at small objects
  • Begins to have depth perception
  •  Plays peek-a-boo
  • Orients to objects in home
  • May turn eyes inward when looking at hands or toys
  • Notices small objects, like cereal
  • Interested in pictures
  • Enjoys hide-and-seek (recognizes partially hidden objects)
  • Inspects toys held in hands
  • Responds to smiles and voices
  •  Sweeps eyes across room

12 to 18 months

  • Able to place shapes in appropriate holes
  • Becomes more interested in pictures
  • Recognises familiar objects and pictures in books, may point to some objects when asked, "Where is the ...?"
  • Points and gestures for objects and actions
  • Recognises own face in mirror
  • Uses “pincer grasp” to hold objects between forefinger and thumb
  • Looks for toys that fall out of sight
  • Builds tower with 3 blocks
  • Enjoys picture books and points to pictures
  • Uses both hands
  • Holds objects close to eyes to inspect

18 to 24 months

  • Able to focus on near and far objects
  • Scribbles with crayon or pencil, may imitate drawing straight line or circle
  •  Can point to body parts (nose, hair, and eyes) when asked
  • Builds tower with 6 blocks
  • Imitates vertical line
  • Recognises people in photographs
  • Begins to inspect objects without touching objects
  • Smiles and face brightens when looking at favourite people or objects
  • Likes to watch movement of objects, such as wheels on toy vehicle
  • Watches and imitates other children
  • “Reads” pictures in books
  • Begins to control hand movement while colouring or drawing

36 to 48 months

  • Can copy shapes
  • Vision is nearing 6/6
  •  Names colours
  • Begins to know colours
  • Cuts with scissors
  • Brings head and eyes close to page of a book
  • Can close eyes on request and may be able to wink

48 to 72 months (4 to 6 years)

  • Recognises and recites the alphabet
  • Ready to begin reading
  • Has complete depth perception
  • Uses scissors and simple hand tools
  •  Can name coins and money
  • Copies a cross, square, and triangle
  • • Draws person with head, trunk, and limbs
  • Draws recognisable person and house and names pictures
  • Uses eyes and hands together with increasing skill
  • Moves and rolls eyes expressively
  • Can place small objects into small openings
  • Demonstrates visual interest in new “stuff”
  • Cuts and pastes simple projects

About the Author Bhavin Shah

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