Going by TNG Season 1, Data has eye sight near Geordi levels, but not quite as well. Curious - which S1 event are you referring to?
Even back then, Data tended to use a flashlight (which LaForge only took on to using in the later seasons). In "Hide and Q", it's LaForge doing the superhuman seeing, while Data doesn't appear to be able to follow:
I could swear there was an episode where Data requires Geordi to examine something and an off-hand comment was made saying Data's eyesight was better than normal, but not as good as Geordi's VISOR. I want to say Heart of Glory, when they were aboard the freighter at the beginning of the episode. I'd have to rewatch it, to be sure.
I can't explain the apparent inconsistency there, though.