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A Trip to the Eye Doctor – InfantSEE

 A year ago the video of 10-month old Piper trying on her pink glasses and clearly seeing her parents for the first time went viral. I had seen the video but didn’t think much of it other than how sweet it was and how happy I was for her to be able to see clearly.

In honor of the one-year anniversary of Piper seeing clearly and meeting all of her developmental milestones since getting her glasses, the American Optometric Association (AOA) reached out to me and asked if I wanted to help spread the word about comprehensive eye assessments for infants. The mom and former early childhood interventionist in me, of course, said yes.

To be honest, I never thought of getting Owen an eye exam because he hasn’t shown signs that he has vision issues. I also didn’t know that we could’ve gotten Owen a comprehensive eye assessment between the ages of 6 and 12 months as a no-cost public service– part of the AOA’s InfantSEE® program. That’s right, a FREE infant eye assessment. It makes me want to call up our pediatrician and say, “What the heck, buddy? Why didn’t you tell me about this?”

Owen obviously missed the 12 month cut-off for the InfantSEE® program, but I still wanted to get his eyes checked out, especially after talking with a friend of ours who’s an optometrist and learning that not all children will show signs if they have a vision problem. So we headed to the optometrist for Owen’s first eye assessment.

Owen brought one of his toy cars for added moral support.


The doctor checked his general eye health, eye movement, peripheral vision, the fluid in his eyes, and to see if he has a lazy eye.


So she could get a better look at Owen’s eyes for part of the exam, the doctor turned on a video of cartoons for Owen to watch. He did a good job until she would whip out her condensing lens, but she managed to see everything she needed to check.


She determined that Owen’s vision and eye health is great, and he doesn’t have a lazy eye. He’s slightly far-sighted but she said that’s normal– most children are far-sighted in early in life.


No tears were shed by anyone, and Owen walked out of there with a new toy and two stickers– one for each arm.

So you’re on top of your kiddo’s visual game, here are the most common visual development milestones:

Birth to 4 months: Focusing on objects 8 to 10 inches from them or focusing on their parent’s face, and the start of eye-hand coordination development.

5 – 8 months: This marks the start of depth perception awareness and once a child reaches the eight month mark, he/she begins to crawl.

9 – 12 months: Babies start to grasp objects and pull themselves up to a standing position. By 12 months, most infants will start to walk.

1 – 2 years: Children will begin to recognize objects and should now have a developed sense of eye-hand coordination and depth perception.

Vision issues in infants are rare, but parents should still keep an eye out for the following signs that indicate eye health or vision problems: Excessive tearing, red/encrusted eyelids, constant eye turning, extreme sensitivity to light, and an appearance of a white pupil.

You can use the AOA’s doctor locator to find an InfantSEE® doctor near you. We will definitely take advantage of this program with any future offspring.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of American Optometric Association. The opinions and text are all mine.

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  1. Great job, Owen! What a great program, even though Owen aged out already. It may seem silly to worry about an infant’s vision, but better safe than sorry. Prevention is the best intervention as they say.

  2. TexasEyeDoc says:

    I think this article is great and full of important information! I am an optometrist that sees mostly pediatric patients and many parents are misinformed about their little one’s eye exam. The exam can be done at any age! Thanks for spreading the word about eye health.

  3. Wow! I had no idea about this program. My little one is only 3 months, but I’m putting a reminder in my phone to call and get her an appointment in a few months. Thanks for sharing this information!

  4. My grandbaby just turned 8 months. I sent my son and daughter-in-law the link to your post so they can set up an exam. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Yup, we take our kids for eye exams early- to the dentist too! Overall health is important for little ones just as much as older kids.

  6. Thanks for sharing this! My son had no apparent vision issues – our pediatrician did a few basic screenings that he passed. Anyway, turns out that when I did the “good mom” thing to get his eyes checked before kindergarten, he couldn’t see out of one eye AND he’s red/green colorblind. Huge mom fail. Patching is a LOT more successful the earlier you do it, so it was horrible to hear he had needed it and we had no clue! In good news, 4 years later, the optometrist was finally able to get that bad eye up to 20/20 with correction (glasses). That’s never happened before, so that is a huge relief! YAY!
    The problem now is my daughter wants glasses and her eyes are perfect (you can bet I got her into the optometrist early). I’ll have to find some of those just-for-fun pairs at Claire’s or something.

  7. Lexie Cook says:

    Thanks for sharing. Our little one will be one in a few weeks so I’m going to jump and get this done.

  8. Thanks for the information about infant visions. I didn’t realize that it was about 5-8 months before depth perception really came in. It’s good to know that vision problems in infants are rare.

  9. I had never considered the possibility that infants could have eye problems. I like that you suggest that parents should keep an eye out for any warning signs. My niece is turning two next April. I’ll have to talk with my sister about taking her in to an eye exam to make sure she is healthy.

  10. I did not know that there were comprehensive eye assessments available for infants. Having your child’s eyes checked as soon as possible seems like it would be very helpful with making sure they can see and get used to any changes they need as soon as possible. I have a nephew who isn’t quite a year yet and I’m not sure if he’s ever had his eyes checked. I’ll have to check with my sister and tell her about the program if he hasn’t.

  11. Thank you for talking about the importance of having regular eye exams for your kids. It makes sense that if you are able to catch any problems early on you can do something about it. It is important to remember that finding a good doctor who can help children, as well as adults, can save you in trios and-and help you get it done quick.

  12. So glad you did a post about this! This is the ONLY place I ever heard bout it. Emily just had hers at 11 months and we were told all is good & to return when she’s 3.

  13. My wife has been wanting to get some good eye exams for our daughter, and I think that getting some information would be good for us. I’m glad you talked about some visual development milestones, and things we can look for with an eye exam. I’m going to have to look for a good eye exam doctor and see if we can get our daughter taken care of!

  14. Really like the black and white photos of the candelabras! Not to often I see a black and white photo! Thanks!blue light filter

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