Baby's Eye Development

By the time your baby is born, her eyes will be beautiful and capable of focusing on your face as you hold her. But, before that, those tiny eyes will have gone through an astonishing amount of growth and development!

Baby’s eyes: The beginning

Before you even knew you were pregnant, two tiny bumps grew out from your baby’s developing brain. At about 6 weeks, these bumps folded in on themselves and became little cups connected to the brain by a stalk. The next week, the major structures of the eyes started to form (the iris, cornea, pupil, retina and lens)—and they were fully developed just a few short weeks later! 

At 10 weeks, your baby had eyelids, although they still may not have opened (they’ll likely open next week, at your 27-week mark). Once baby’s eyes can open, she’ll be able to see bright light through your tummy and will blink (and maybe even wiggle around). 

Baby’s eyes: Developing sight 

By about 30 weeks, her pupils will be working, getting larger to let in more light, or smaller when it’s too bright. She may even be able to see the shapes of her own hands and feet, although she won’t be able to see color for a few more weeks. 

Around the 34-week mark, your baby can follow movement with her eyes and has developed enough cones to see color—well, just one color for now. Because the inside of your uterus is red, her eyes developed the cones to see red first. 

By the time you reach 36 week, your baby’s eyes are as developed as they will be at birth. Things will be blurry for a while, but she’ll be able to focus on objects (like your face) from about 8 to 15 inches away. As her eyes grow more cones, she’ll eventually be able to see all of the colors of the rainbow and focus on objects both near and far. And, by the time she’s 8 months old, she’ll see about as well as you do! 

For more information about pediatric services at BayCare, visit BayCare Kids.