We are not born with vision that is fully functional. Eyes are like the rest of our body and require lots of different experiences during development to learn how to function well.
At around 1 month of age a child’s vision is optimal at distances of around 20 – 30 cms. Interacting with Mum and Dad during feeding is a really important task during these early days.
Interest starts to move beyond Mum and Dad and only feeding and at around 4 – 6 months of age there is an increased ability to see in the distance. Now that sight is present, the visual world can be explored. As a baby reaches out to touch items that are visually interesting to them, the hand and eye movements are linked by primitive reflexes that commence hand eye coordination. Whole body visual motor co-ordination begins as a child begins to crawl and walk.
It is vital for good visual development that a child is given every opportunity to interact with the real world and experience climbing, swinging, rolling, balancing, hanging and spinning. These experiences allow vision to start accurately communicating with other body systems such as balance, movement control and proprioception enabling them to function well in life.
Our vision assists in telling our body how to move in space, where things are and what they are. When a child is clumsy it may be that they are not receiving good information in about where to put their body in space. As vision guides and directs our body movements then it is important that vision is investigated to ensure that it is not the cause of any movement problems.