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When babies are conceived in the mother’s womb, every organ of the baby’s body undergoes growth and development until they are born. Their eyes develop to the point of being able to see light, shapes, and colour.

The process begins with two tiny grooves on each side of the head. The eyes continue to develop gradually as the weeks go by and achieve the following developmental milestones:

6 weeks       Eye ‘cups’ are set on both sides of the head.

7 weeks       The cornea, pupil, iris, lens, and retina begin to develop.

8 weeks       The tear ducts develop.

10 weeks     Both eyelids have formed, but they are closed.

27 weeks     Eyelids begin to open and close and the baby begins to blink as a way of responding to light.

32 weeks     The pupils expand and the baby will probably be able to see dim shapes.

34 weeks     The baby will be able to see the colour red.

37 weeks     At birth, the baby will have a minimum focusing distance of 20cm to 30cm and can also sense changes in lighting in the environment.


Tips for maintaining healthy eyesight in unborn babies

A pregnant woman can maintain healthy eyesight for her unborn baby by adhering to the following health tips.


Observe optimal personal hygiene by washing your hands as often as possible and ensure that all cooking utensils, as well as cutlery being used, are very clean at all times. This will help to prevent infections, such as cytomegalovirus and toxoplasmosis, which can seriously damage the vision of unborn babies. Avoid all forms of contact with cat poop and animals such as sheep and lamb. This is because they also harbour toxoplasmosis infection.

Unsafe medication

Avoid taking drugs not recommended by the doctor, as some medications can retard the development of the unborn baby’s eyes.

Prompt medical attention

When the expectant mother feels ill, she should see her doctor, as what might seem minor can cause significant damage and lead to the retardation in the development of the unborn baby’s eyes.

Healthy eating

Eat foods that contain lots of Beta-carotene (an important nutrient for the development of babies’ eyes.) Beta-carotene is commonly found in yellow fruits such as apricots and mangoes, as well as vegetables, such as spinach, sweet potatoes, and carrots.

Your baby deserves the best, and you can provide it. Take care of your health and hygiene during pregnancy and see your doctor once you sense any issues with your health or the pregnancy.