A healthy newborn has developed eyes, a developed visual pathway, as well as the brain’s vision centre, but their vision has not yet been exposed to external stimuli, so newborns have yet to learn how to use it. In their first days of life, the newborn follows larger objects with their eyes, and in a few weeks, they consciously respond with a smile when they see their mother’s face. From birth, mothers participate in establishing eye contact with their baby, initially this mainly occurs during feeding when the newborn is closely watching the mother. Responses to visual stimuli may develop more slowly and gradually, depending on the child, but at six weeks babies should develop quality eye contact with the mother, consciously laugh when they see her even though she is not directly engaging them and they should be able to direct their gaze at large items. In the earliest period, the baby likes to observe contrasting black and white patterns, it is later that they are attracted to colours and faces.
As early as preschool age, their visual perception gradually acquires the characteristics of adult vision. Therefore, undetected refractive error of the eye or other undetected eye diseases in preschool and early school age can have irreversible consequences on vision development. This refers in particular to the amblyogenic risk factor that develops up to the age of 15. During this period, it is extremely important to identify potential amblyogenic risk factors and treat them properly, such as encouraging the use of a child’s lazy eye by covering the healthy eye; to detect and surgically treat congenital cataracts early; to prescribe appropriate glasses upon doing tests such as cycloplegic refraction, etc.
Although we can contribute the most to the development of a child’s vision at a very early age, electrophysiological tests have shown that neural connections are formed and the visual pathway is optimized as late as the age of 20