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Do Infants See in Color or Black & White?

Learn if infants see in color or in black and white from pediatrician Dyan Hes, M.D. in this Howcast video about newborn and baby development.


Parents always want to know what their baby is seeing at birth. At birth a baby's version is very blurry; it's about 20 over 400. Babies see predominately in black and white, but studies theorize that babies can see colors like red and orange within the first week of life, and then the other colors like blues, greens, and yellows come within the first weeks of life.

Babies see strong contrasts, so when they're looking a parent's face especially their mother, they're seeing the mother's hairline against the wall behind her or they're seeing her hairline against her face and the contrast.

They're studying the face and trying to figure it out. Studies show that babies who exposed to other faces or their mother's face that is covered up perhaps with a towel will not respond the same way to the voice without seeing the face.

As babies mature, their vision becomes more in focus as their retinal cells develop, and by age five they ultimately should have 20/20 vision. At birth babies can see in three dimension as well.

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