Babies at birth have their eyes wide open, as if they want to capture the whole new world that has just appeared before their eyes for the first time. However, they see practically nothing. We are going to analyze how much newborns see, and what is the evolution of their visual capacity during the first months of life .
After those first moments of life with their eyes wide open, it is common for newborn babies to keep their eyes closed most of the time. We should not be alarmed, as it is not related to vision defects. From the first moment the baby can see, although the central area of the retina is not yet developed and his vision is limited.
How does the newborn see?
The newborn can perceive changes in the intensity of light . You perceive flashes, reflections, when a light is turned on from total darkness, and you can set points of contrast.
We can see his orienting reflex: the baby will turn his head towards the light bulb (except if it is so intense that it bothers him, as it would annoy us adults). Also the photomotor reflex, which consists in that the pupils contract when they are illuminated. The newborn is able to see objects in an area of 20 to 30 centimeters and probably on a scale of black, white and gray.
How the baby sees in the first weeks of life
One of the first visual stimuli that the newborn will be able to interpret is the mother’s face . In addition, he will begin to associate that face with a series of sensations that we can make him pleasant: the voice, the touch, the caresses, the heat, the satiety of hunger.
At two weeks of age, he shows interest in elongated objects that contrast with the background, that is, differentiated in terms of color and luminosity. The human face has these characteristics, so it will pay special attention to the faces of those around it. And, within the human face, the baby tends to pay more attention to the area around the eyes.
It is thought that one of the colors that most attracts you in these first weeks of life, perhaps because it is one of the first that you begin to discern, is red . As he cannot see clearly at this time, it is common for him to cross his eyes in a squint that comes and goes immediately, since he cannot focus both eyes on the same place at the same time.
How the baby sees in the first month of life
Towards the end of the first month of life, the baby will begin to show a certain interest in the environment, although his attention is limited to a very limited radius and for very short periods of time.
In this gif we can see how the baby’s vision evolves from birth to the first year of life.
How you see in the second month of life
By 2 months of age (8-10 weeks), it can follow a slow-moving object at a distance of 30-60 centimeters in a 180-degree arc. If before you could focus on fuzzy objects, now you will be able to perceive their outline. In addition, this progress is accompanied by greater control of the head associated with muscle strengthening.
From 10 weeks there is a remarkable advance in the baby’s visual ability that his parents can easily verify: he discovers his own hands. It is because now it is able to perceive the smallest details quite well, and can focus at almost any distance .
In addition, you can open and close your hands, direct them towards an object and hit it, and the improvement of eye-hand coordination begins. For this reason, he can spend long periods moving and observing his hands. You will soon discover its usefulness in manipulating your environment.
How you see from three months
Between three months and four months, increased muscle control of the eye allows the baby to follow objects, and increased visual acuity allows him to discriminate objects from backgrounds with minimal contrast (such as a button on a child’s blouse). same color).
How the baby sees from four months
Between four months and six months, color vision develops . Recognizes objects and looks for them, is able to see at a greater distance.
How the baby sees from seven months
Starting at seven months, he can stare at small objects and begins to have depth perception . You can see all the colors and gradually you will be able to follow faster moving objects.
In short, through the gaze the main exchange between the baby and his environment is established, starting with the parents, but vision is the least developed sense in the newborn . Therefore, it requires a process of adaptation and learning that we have tried to summarize.
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