BACKGROUND The examination of the infant needs patience, special knowledge and skills to get to a reliable judgment of the visual functions of the child. For the practitioner it is important to rely on clinical methods without the apparatus reserved to ophthalmologic institutions. METHODS Based on the literature and personal experience the clinical examination techniques for infants are presented and the results are discussed with respect to the possible diagnosis. CONCLUSION Simple clinical tests reveal most symptoms in the infant. Electrophysiological tests and imaging procedures are sometimes necessary.