At birth, an infant’s vision is very limited as their visual system is not fully developed. Over the first few days and weeks of life vision improves steadily and infants will be able to see high contrast patterns in black and white.
Very young infants do not see in colour because the cells in the retina which detect colour have not yet fully developed. Their main focus will be on objects 8-10 inches from their face - which is happily the approximate distance from their face to your face when you are interacting with them.
By around 6-8 weeks of age babies can focus on your face more easily, and that is when you might notice that gorgeous first smile being returned right back to you.
During the first few months the brain is working out how to work the eyes together as a pair and vision starts to improve quickly. At this stage babies will start to learn how to track objects and will start to reach out for things that they find interesting.
It is generally thought that by the age of 5-6 months children have much better colour vision, although at this stage it is still thought to be not as sensitive as that of an adults. Children of this age will mostly be attracted to bright, strong primary colours.
Vision continues to improve steadily through the first 12 months and beyond into toddlerhood. It is possible to assess vision in infants, babies and preverbal children and any concerns about your child’s vision should be discussed with your GP.