Our three-month-old has recently taken to staring at lights, such as the one about 4 feet above our dinner table (he sits in his bouncer on the table when we eat dinner.) Could this harm his eyesight, and should we take measures to block him from staring at lights?
asked 19 Jan '10, 16:19
Certain light sources can definitely harm the eyes, such as lasers or the most obvious one, the sun. What makes sunlight dangerous is ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which is why ophthalmologists recommend wearing sunglasses with protection against UVA and UVB radiation. Parents of babies who are diagnosed with jaundice should be aware that the primary treatment is exposure to UV light which breaks down the chemical, bilirubin, that causes jaundice, so be sure eye goggles that block out all light are used when the baby is placed under the "bili-light." We used a "bili-blanket", which was a light paddle that slipped into the back of a vest that our daughter wore to help her get over her case of jaundice. She looked like a glow worm!
I also came across an article that suggested that blue light within the visible spectrum (at the end closest to UV, between 400-500 nm in wavelength) could be dangerous and lead to age related macular degeneration. ARMD, like the name sounds, is associated with the elderly, so I'm not sure how this applies to children.
With that in mind, our 5-month-old loves to look at lights. When we had our Christmas tree up, she would just stare at it, mezmerized by the different colors as they twinkled and flashed. When she was first born, she loved to stare at house lamps. I don't worry much about her looking at those sorts of light sources, and I think it would be pretty difficult to stop her, anyway, but I did wonder this myself when I first noticed her staring at lights.
answered 19 Jan '10, 17:50
As far as I know, all babies stare at lights. My 8-month old gets super excited when he sees a new kind of light he hasn't seen before. We have taken no measures to prevent him looking at the lights; I think this would make him very angry! I suppose it is a good idea to dim extra bright lights when you can, but you'll never be able to prevent him from looking at all lights. Unfortunately I have no idea how harmful this is.
answered 19 Jan '10, 17:12