Preschool Vision Development Checklist

Watch For:

Appearance of eyes:

  • Unusual redness of eyes
  • Unusual redness of lids
  • Crusted eyelids
  • Styes or sores on lids
  • Excessive tearing
  • Unusual lid droopiness
  • One eye turns in or out with fatigue

Evidence of discomfort:

  • Excessive rubbing of eyes
  • Avoids bright light
  • Keeps eyes closed too much of the time

Expected visual performances:

Birth to 6 weeks of age:

  • Stares at surroundings when awake
  • Momentarily holds gaze on bright light or bright object
  • Blinks at camera flash
  • Eyes and head move together
  • One eye may seem turned in at times

8 weeks to 24 weeks:

  • Eyes begin to move more widely with less head movement
  • Eyes begin to follow moving objects or people (8-12wks)
  • Watches parent’s face when being talked to (10-12wks)
  • Begins to watch own hands (12-16wks)
  • Eyes move in active inspection or surroundings (18-20wks)
  • While sitting, looks at hands, food, bottle (18-24wks)
  • Now looking for and watching more distant objects (20-28wks)

30 weeks to 48 weeks:

  • May turn eye inward while inspecting hands or toy (28-32wks)
  • Eyes more mobile and move with little head movement (30-36wks)
  • Watches activities around him for longer periods of time (30-36wks)
  • Looks for toy he drops (32-38wks)
  • Visually inspects toys he can hold (38-40wks)
  • Creeps after favorite toy when seen (40-44wks)
  • Sweeps eyes around room to see what’s happening (44-48wks)
  • Visually responds to smiles and voices of others (40-48wks)
  • More and more visual inspection of objects and persons (46-52wks)

12 months to 18 months

  • Now using both hands and visually steering hand activity (12-14mths)
  • Visually interested in simple pictures (14-16mths)
  • Often holds objects very close to eye to inspect (14-18mths)
  • Points to objects or people using words “look” or “see” (14-18mths)
  • Looks for an identifies pictures in books (16-18mths)

24 months to 36 months

  • Occasionally visually inspects without needing to touch (20-24mths)
  • Smiles, facial brightening when views favorite objects and people (20-24mths)
  • Likes to watch movement of wheels, egg beater, etc. (24-28mths)
  • Watches own hand while scribbling (26-30mths)
  • Visually explores and steers own walking and climbing (30-36mths)
  • Watches and imitates other children (30-36mths)
  • Can now begin to keep coloring on the paper (34-38mths)
  • “Reads” pictures in books (34-38mths)

40 months to 48 months

  • Brings head and eyes close to page of book while inspecting (40-44mths)
  • Draws and names circle and cross on paper (40-44mths)
  • Can close eyes on request

4 years to 5 years

  • Uses eyes and hands together well and with increasing skill
  • Moves and rolls eye in an expressive way
  • Draws and names pictures
  • Colors within lines
  • Cuts and pastes quite well on simple pictures
  • Copies simple forms and some letters
  • Can place small objects in small pictures
  • Visually alert and observant of surroundings
  • Tells about places, objects or people seen elsewhere
  • Shows increasing visual interest in new objects and place

REMEMBER: Lags of a week or so in the age ranges above are not unusual, but any definite delay should be given every necessary attention.  The performances listed are important.  Any omissions should also be given attention and practice opportunities provided because these are all preparatory to school readiness and the visual skills essential to all lifetime activities.

Reprinted with permission of OEP Foundation