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It takes your baby's eyes some time to adjust to the world, so at first they might not always look or function the way you expect.
For example, it's perfectly normal in the first three months of life for your infant's eyes to be crossed, or for him not to be able to see much past your face when you're holding him.
Certain signs could indicate a problem. Talk with your baby's doctor if you notice any of the following:
- Your baby's eyes don't move normally. One moves and the other doesn't, for example, or one looks different from the other when moving.
- Your baby is older than 1 month, but lights, mobiles, and other distractions still don't catch his attention.
- One of your baby's eyes never opens.
- Your baby has a persistent, unusual spot in her eyes in photos taken with a flash. Instead of the common red-eye caused by camera flash, for example, there's a white spot.
- You notice white, grayish-white, or yellow material in the pupil of your baby's eye. (His eyes look cloudy.)
- One (or both) of your baby's eyes is bulging.
- One or both of your baby's eyelids seem to be drooping.
- Your baby squints often.
- Your baby rubs her eyes often when she's not sleepy.
- Your baby's eyes seem sensitive to light.
- One of your baby's eyes is bigger than the other, or the pupils are different sizes.
- You notice any other change in his eyes from how they usually look.
In addition, once your baby is 3 months old, talk with the doctor if you notice any of the following:
- Your baby's eyes turn way in or out, and stay that way.
- Your baby's eyes don't follow a toy moved from side to side in front of her.
- Your baby's eyes seem to jump or wiggle back and forth.
- Your baby seems to consistently tilt his head when he looks at things.
You'll also want to have the doctor check your baby's eyes if they show any signs of a blocked tear duct or infection, such as pinkeye. These signs include excessive tearing, redness that lasts more than a few days, or pus or crust in her eyes.
Your baby's doctor can help you determine whether you should be concerned. The doctor may examine your child's eyes, screen his vision, or refer you to a medical eye specialist (ophthalmologist). If vision problems run in your baby's family, be sure to mention it.
See our complete article on strabismus (misaligned eyes) and amblyopia (lazy eye).
Before the next well-baby checkup, check out our complete article on what to expect when the doctor examines your baby's eyes.