For Parents

Red flags Your baby, toddler, and child might have vision problems

Worried about your child’s vision development? I’ve got your back parents as I have collated a list of things to look out for if you think your child’s vision is compromised.


  • 0-3 months: Baby usually can see up to 30cm, even then vision is very  blurry with a limited range of colour. Using black and white images may help with vision development however you may not notice a reaction from the baby then.
  • At 3 months of age baby will start to respond to familiar faces.
  • 4-6 months: baby can track a toy from side to side and up and down. 


  1. Move a silent bright toy slowly across baby’s eye level at a distance of 30 cm. Silent toys ensure baby isn’t following sounds. If bright toy doesn’t elicit eye tracking switch to a toy with lights. 
  2. Cover one eye at a time with the palm of your hand. Make sure child can’t peak throughout your fingers. If baby moves head out of the hand or cries. This is referred to objection to occlusion whereby a child’s vision is reduced in the other eye and objects to the covering of the good eye. If child objects to both eyes then this method isn’t relevant as child is just being fussy.

Red flags:

  • Baby responds to light only, baby doesn’t track properly, baby fails to track altogether.
  • Baby’s pupil appear white. (And red reflex isn’t illicited in photos taken on cameras with flashes)
  • Baby’s (4 months+) one eye, both eyes or alternating eye shift towards the nose or all the way outwards to the side. Or appear slightly higher or lower compared to the level of the other eye. This indicates a muscle imbalance and needs a specialist review. Tip: sometimes, eyes can give the appearance of turning inwards towards the nose because of the presence of the nose bridge. Eye turns can be checked at home by pointing a tiny light at the baby’s nose. Look out for the position of the light reflection on the eyes. They should appear symmetrical. Note: Eyeturns can be constant or occur at certain times of the day. Always note which eye is turning, and in which direction, time of the day, if baby is tired at time of turn and activity baby was doing.


  • Child rubs eyes constantly, especially when out at the sun.
  • Child’s head seems to always be tilted or turned in a certain way
  • Child refuses participation with activities requiring lots of attention to details. Tip: have child sort out a certain colour from a pack of m&ms or 100s and 1000s, confetti or something similar
  • Child seems clumsy and tends to fall frequently or knock things over
  • Poor hand – eye coordination.
  • Eye is red, with flakey, sticky or yellow discharge or excessive tearing.

School aged children

  • Extreme sensitivity to light 
  • Complaining of headaches while doing closeup work such as reading
  • Skipping lines when reading or words and letters tend to run into each other.
  • Squinting and trouble seeing the board or TV at a distance
  • Red eyes
  • constant tearing
  • Pupils appear to be unequal
  • Droopy eyelids 

Children’s eyes-brain pathway is complete by the age of 8. As such, intervening as early as possible is the best way to optimally support the child’s visual function.


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