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Infant's vision: first year of life

The organ of vision plays an exceptional role in the development of a child of the first year of life. Eyes supply more than 90% of the world's information to the brain. The nervous system of the baby is in close connection with the senses. The first year of life - the most intense period of development of visual function. Parents need to be aware of the main stages in the development of an infant's eye and possible problems for timely referral to a specialist.


General plan of the structure of the organ of vision

The organ of vision is a uniquely complex structure of the human body. The eyeball and nerve pathways of transmitting visual information to the brain develop a long time after the end of the prenatal period and the birth of the child.

The structure of the eyeball

The eyeball consists of three main components:

  • Fibrous membrane facing the external environment and performing a frame and protective function. It consists of dense connective tissue. The opaque part of the fibrous membrane (sclera) is noticeable in its white color. Its front section passes light well and is called the cornea.
  • Choroidal, or choroidal. It also consists of several parts:
    • the iris, which determines the color of the eyes, and the pupil, which is a hole in it, through which light penetrates into the deep-lying parts of the eyeball;
    • ciliary body, the muscles of which surround the lens and make it possible to clearly see closely spaced and distant objects.
  • Pigmentary shell, or retina. It contains many specialized cells that convert light into an electrical nerve impulse:
    • chopsticks that form the visual image at dusk and at night;
    • cones responsible for the color perception of the subject in bright daylight.
      The structure of the eyeball

      The eyeball has three membranes: the sclera, choroid and retina

Optical media of the eye

To form an image, the light beam is refracted in the following anatomical structures of the eye:

  • cornea - the transparent part of the sclera has an optical power of about 28 diopters;
  • moisture front camera eyes;
  • a lens having an optical power of about 12-14 diopters;
  • vitreous body, located between the lens and the retina of the eye.
    Optical media of the eye

    Light travels through the transparent structures of the eyeball and focuses on the retina.

After the light passes through all the optical structures of the eyeball, an inverted image is formed on the retina. Both eyes perceive the subject differently. Information in the form of an electrical signal from the cells of the retina along the optic nerve is sent to a specialized section of the brain, in which various inverted images from both eyes are formed into a single image of the object.

Formation of the visual image of the subject

The inverted image of the object on the retina converts to the correct brain

Visual acuity directly depends on the transparency and refractive power of optical media and the length of the eyeball.

The development of vision in the first month of life

All the anatomical structures of the eyeball described above, as well as visual acuity, continue their development after the birth of the child.

It would be a mistake to believe that the newborn does not see or hear anything. This statement is very far from the truth. Auditory sensations in the fetus occur even in the period of intrauterine life. The visuals are formed only after his birth.

The visual acuity of a newborn is approximately one tenth of that of an adult. The child during this period is able to distinguish the contours of large objects from a short distance.

Color perception in the first days of life is reduced. The structure of the retina of the newborn implies the presence of rods and cones on the periphery. In the central zone (yellow spot), on which the image of the object is built, at birth there are very few of them. During the first month of life, the rods and cones gradually move to the center, as a result of which the child begins to distinguish bright red and orange colors.

The structure of rods and cones

Sticks and cones - specialized retinal photosensitive cells

Formation of a single image of the object based on images on both retinas (binocular vision) at birth is not yet. The full picture of the world in the form of spatial images of a child is absent during the first month. At this time, the brain only gets used to the arrival of different signals from two retinas.

The size of the eyeball at birth is smaller than that of an adult. In the first month of life, there is a particularly rapid growth of anatomical structures: the lens, the vitreous body.

The cornea of ​​a newborn has a more convex shape than an adult. In connection with this, the refraction of light in its different parts has been slightly changed. Infants may experience a blurred image of the object on the retina. The reason in this case is a different corneal curvature, or astigmatism.

Vision is normal and with astigmatism

Corneal growth can lead to transient astigmatism.

The optic nerve - the conductor of information from the retina to the brain - also changes at this age. The main process is the formation of the myelin sheath of nerve fibers.

At the age of one month, a newborn can follow a moving object and fix its gaze on a fixed one. During this period, the child may notice a strabismus phenomenon - a deviation of the pupil from the central axis. However, up to six months, experts consider it a variant of the norm.

The blood supply of the retina during this period has one important feature: in the newborn, the vessels are more developed in the nasal part than in the temporal.

Retinal vessels

Retinal vessels in the newborn are more developed in the nose

Sight of a two-month baby

At two months, the child’s visual acuity reaches approximately one fifth of that of an adult. At this age, the baby is already able to distinguish the mother’s features and even recognize them. Seeing the contours of eye objects now can at a distance of about half a meter.

Binocular vision appears at the end of the second month of life. The brain has already learned to form a single image of the subject. Now the spatial picture of the world is available to the child.

Binocular vision scheme

Binocular vision allows you to see the subject volume

The macula of the retina gradually filled with cones. Now the child is able to distinguish the main bright colors: red, blue, yellow, green. However, transitional shades are still not available to him. In the first two months, the baby is best to buy bright toys.

The growth of the eyeball, lens and vitreous body continues. The cornea takes on a more familiar shape.

Fibers of the optic nerve in the womb are laid by nature in excess. Some of them will die in the first two months. This is a programmed process. The quality of vision will not suffer.

The structure of the optic nerve fibers

Information from both halves of the retinas enters the brain through certain optic nerve fibers.

The vascular network ends up developing in the temporal region of the retina.

At this age, parents may already notice that the child is able to fix his gaze on a fixed object for a long time. And also the baby already knows how to follow moving objects for quite a long time.

Doctor Komarovsky about baby vision - video

The main achievements of the third and subsequent months of life

The process of formation of visual acuity (clinical refraction) takes quite a long time, up to school age. However, by the end of its first year, a child is able to clearly distinguish between closely spaced and distant objects. The length of the eyeball will be the same as that of an adult, only by two years.

The color perception of the child for the year will reach the peak of development. By 10 months, the baby is able to distinguish virtually all the variety of colors and shades of the world.

A conscious look and coordinated action of the eye muscles are available to the child at the age of six months. By this time, the phenomenon of strabismus, if it was, should be eliminated.

Muscles of the eyeball

Strabismus - the result of uncoordinated work of the eye muscles

The formation of the myelin sheath of the optic nerve in the first year is the most intense, but it ends no earlier than two years of age.

Structure of the myelin sheath of the nerve fiber

The myelin sheath provides a high rate of transmission of nerve impulses.

By the age of three months, the child is able to fix his gaze on objects, being in an upright position on the hands of the parents. After sixteen weeks after the birth, the baby clearly recognizes his mother, which is accompanied by an emotional expression of joy. By five months, the child is distinguished by the faces of close relatives. By the end of the first year of life, the baby recognizes people in the photo.

Strabismus in children of the first year of life - video

Features of the premature newborn

Prematurity is not only a condition of internal organs. The vision of a child born before the age of forty weeks is very different from that of a full-term baby.

Born before 28 weeks of intrauterine development, the infant is unable to respond to light. At a later date, there is a squinting and a general motor response.

Fixing gaze in the first month of life in these children is missing. At the time of birth after 30 weeks, a similar visual function will appear only by three months of life. 32–34 weeks of development in the womb will provide a newborn with a fixed look at the age of 1.5–2 months. The diameter of the cornea in a child increases in proportion to the duration of intrauterine life.

In a premature baby, the blood supply to the retina is poorly developed. The smaller the gestational (prenatal) age, the more likely the appearance of edema of the pigment membrane of the eye and the subsequent violation of its structure in the form of retinopathy. Often, when examining the retina, foci of hemorrhage are detected, localized mainly in the region of the yellow spot.

Scheme of retinopathy stages of prematurity

The main problem of the organ of vision of a premature baby is the risk of retinal detachment

On the retina in very premature babies, a zone that does not contain vessels (avascular) is detected. At 34 weeks, it is practically not observed.

The area of ​​entry of the optic nerve into the retina (disk) has blurred edges. A clear delineation along with a pink color appears only for a period of forty weeks.

The area of ​​the macula as a congestion in children born before the 30th week of pregnancy is completely absent. Its development will take about three months. For babies born on the 34th week of gestation, this process takes about one and a half months.

Problems of the organ of vision in the first year of life

The main predisposing factors for the development of pathologies of the organ of vision in a child of the first year of life are:

  • prematurity;
  • birth injury of the cervical spine;
  • intrauterine infections (rubella, toxoplasmosis, herpes, cytomegalovirus);
    Rubella virus

    Rubella, transferred in utero, extremely negative impact on the organ of view

  • pathology of labor activity (protracted and rapid delivery, extensor head presentations);
  • operative delivery by applying obstetric forceps;
  • hereditary diseases in parents and other relatives;
  • hereditary marriage.

The most urgent problems of visual function in children of the first year of life are pathologies of the retina, lens, clinical refraction, nerve, tear ducts.

Problems of the organ of vision in infants - table

Type of pathology Localization process The essence of the problem Possible outcome of the disease
Retinopathy of prematurity Retina
  • violation of the formation of retinal vessels;
  • germination of blood vessels in the vitreous body;
  • retinal disinsertion.
Total loss of vision
Partial atrophy of the optic nerve Optic nerve fibers Dying off part of the nerve fibers
  • change in light and color perception;
  • complete loss of vision.
Glaucoma Structures of the anterior chamber of the eye
  • increased intraocular pressure;
  • frequent association with retinopathy of prematurity.
Total loss of vision
Congenital myopia Eyeball
  • significantly lengthened eyeball;
  • myopia reaches 15–30 diopters.
  • blurred vision;
  • complete loss of vision.
Congenital cataract Lens Clouding of the lens
  • blurred vision;
  • complete loss of vision.
Congenital microphthalmia Eyeball Reducing the size of the eyeball
  • blurred vision;
  • complete loss of vision.
Dacryocystitis Tear bag
  • obstruction of the nasal channel;
  • infectious inflammation of the lacrimal sac.
  • purulent inflammation of the eye orbit;
  • cavernous sinus thrombosis.

Eye pathologies in a child of the first year of life - photo gallery

Retinopathy of prematurity - video

How to detect vision problems in a baby

Anatomical abnormalities in the structure of the eyeball (microphthalmia) will be seen by a neonatologist immediately after birth.

Visual acuity in a child of the first year of life is precisely impossible to determine. Deviations in indicators of clinical refraction are detected no earlier than two years of age. Parents of a child in the first months of life should be guided by the reaction of the child to the light, fixing the gaze on a stationary object, tracking a moving object.

The lack of a pink glow of the retina (the so-called red-eye effect) indicates clouding of the lens (cataract).

Constant tearing signals the obstruction of the nasolacrimal duct. Swelling, reddening of the area under the eyeball is a consequence of infectious inflammation of the lacrimal sac (dacryocystitis).

The phenomenon of strabismus, not disappeared after six months of life, requires the attention of a specialist.

The role of parents in the development of the organ of vision in the child

Развитие органа зрения у ребёнка первого года жизни — чрезвычайно важная задача воспитания. Рекомендуется использовать следующие мероприятия в зависимости от возраста малыша.

Мероприятия по развитию органа зрения у грудничка — таблица

1 month 2–3 месяца 4 месяца 5–6 месяцев 7–8 месяцев 10–12 месяцев
  • показывать ребёнку яркую погремушку;
  • использовать предметы ярких контрастных цветов и различных форм.
  • показывать картинки, игрушки;
  • подвешивать игрушки в стороне или возле ног.
Давать ребёнку игрушку в руку
  • играть в прятки;
  • давать игрушки в руки как можно чаще;
  • выкладывать игрушки вблизи ребёнка.
Побуждать ребёнка ползти к интересным игрушкам
  • показывать фотографии родных;
  • показывать яркие иллюстрации в детских книжках.

Развивающие картинки для грудничка — фотогалерея

Зрение — важнейшее средство познания ребёнком первого года жизни окружающего мира. Развитие зрительной функции во многом зависит от деятельного участия в этом процессе родителей. Возникновение проблем с глазами — повод запланировать визит к детскому офтальмологу.


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