Eyes in the Womb

Back in December my wife & I discovered that she is expecting. Trying to be the best expectant father I could be, I began a journey of discovery. I wanted to learn absolutely everything that I could. Being an ophthalmic technician since 1999, I became curious about how quickly the eyes develop. This is what I learned:

BabyWiggs My baby in 3D ultrasound at 21 weeks. You can clearly make out the facial features & the eyelids.

Prior to the 15th week of gestation, the eyes are positioned more along the sides of the face similar to horses or cows. In week 15 the eyes begin to move forward, giving the more familiar human appearance. The eyelids are closed during this time. In week 16 the eyes are still shut, but the baby is beginning to perceive light & can make squinting facial expressions with the muscles areound the eyes & lids. At week 22 the little guy or gal has eyebrows & eyelashes. In week 26 the eyes are finally able to open, no longer fused shut. The baby is able to see bright lights that are near the belly. As a result, the baby is able to respond to stimuli such as bright lights and can look around in there, although I assume there isn’t much to see. In week 28 the baby is practicing blinking and can enter REM(Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. Betcha the little guy is dreaming of roughhousing with the family dog. By week 35 the eyes are fully developed, but he or she just has to wait a little longer.

Did you know babies are not born with 20/20 vision? Their eyes need to be stimulated in order for vision to develop normally, so make those silly smiles and funny faces to speed along the process!


At 20 weeks my baby is already proven to be a football fan, holding the pigskin in the womb!