With review and feedback from CEENTA Ophthalmologists Elliot McKee, MD (SouthPark, Belmont, Statesville), Timothy Saunders, MD (SouthPark, Matthews), and Erin Schotthoefer, MD (Huntersville, University)

Have you ever seen a baby stare at an object for seemingly no reason? There’s nothing remarkable about this item they might have seen a dozen times already, correct? Well, to you there might not be, but thanks to how humans develop, babies are literally noticing things you’re not.

What does my baby see?

Until a baby is about four months old, they are able to pick out tiny, imperceptible differences in objects and images that would otherwise go unnoticed by adults, such as light reflection and pixel intensity, even if those objects appear identical to adults. Babies start to lose this ability when they’re five months old, and by the time they are about nine months old, they see very similarly to how adults do.

How was this measured?

Scientists determined that babies stare longer at objects that are new to them. The more familiar something is, the less time they will spend looking at it. Therefore, even when adults thought different objects looked identical, or at least very similar, babies noticed the differences and would spend a longer time looking at what was, to them, something unfamiliar.

What changes when we age?

As people get older, they develop what is known as perceptual constancy, or perceptual narrowing. This allows us to identify things as being the same, even when we see them under different lighting conditions or other scenarios that could alter how something looks. This allows us, for example, to recognize our family members as our family members, whether it’s a sunny day or the middle of the night. So, there’s nothing wrong with your baby’s eyes, nor did your eyes lose a special ability. This is all a natural consequence of aging.

Bring your baby to CEENTA

If you want your baby’s eyes examined, make an appointment at CEENTA. Our pediatric ophthalmologists will ensure they are seeing clearly and will offer any necessary treatment to ensure their eyes develop properly as they grow up.

This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. Would you like an appointment with a CEENTA eye doctor? Call 704-295-3000. You can also schedule an appointment online or through myCEENTAchart.


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