Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Ages & Stages

Newborn Eyesight

Newborn infants generally have poor eyesight and little ability to focus beyond 6 or 10 inches away. The amount of color vision is not known for certain, but infants probably do not see subtle differences in color until 2 to 3 months of age.

Where Baby Can See Best

Initially, your baby may not be able to look at you and follow your face, but as she grows and remains awake for longer periods, her eyesight will improve. Position your baby face-to-face about 6 to 10 inches away. This is where your baby can see the best, and faces are a baby’s favorite visual stimulation.

Patterns and Colors

Babies also like objects with high contrast, such as black-and-white bull’s-eye patterns, checkerboards, and concentric circles of contrasting colors. It is good for your baby to have different things to look at, and she enjoys it when you occasionally change the objects in her environment. Before birth, your baby was accustomed to a dark, muted environment.

Preemie Eyesight

The fetus’ eyelids fuse (close) during week 10 of gestation and remain closed until about 26 weeks’ gestation.
  • If your baby is born with closed eyelids, no special precautions or treatments are necessary. The lids will open on their own within a short time, or by around 26 weeks.
  • If your baby is born with fused eyelids, waiting for the lids to open can be frustrating. Although this may take only a short time to happen, it can seem like forever when you are anxiously waiting to make eye contact with your baby.

Additional Information

Last Updated
Newborn Intensive Care: What Every Parent Needs to Know, 3rd Edition (Copyright © 2010 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
Follow Us