Health Answers: How well can newborns see?

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A newborn’s visual system doesn’t yet see the world as we do. Angela Brown, a psychologist who studies infant vision at Ohio State University, says that the eye’s light-sensitive retina is not fully mature at birth, and it lacks a structure called the fovea at its center that gives us our sharp central vision. A baby’s brain also hasn’t yet learned to process complex visual input.

Newborns can focus on objects, but Brown says they can’t distinguish details well. Their visual acuity improves dramatically over the next few months, and beginning at 2 months, babies begin to use both eyes together to see objects in three dimensions.

To provide visual stimuli for your baby, go bold with big shapes and a high contrast between light and dark.

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