When your newborn baby makes that first giggle, is it really because of the silly faces we make? As it turns out, probably not.

Did you know that a newborn baby relies on touch and smell more than sight? In fact, despite the strong bond between baby and mother, the average newborn cannot see the world clearly until the age of 2. During this time, babies gradually begin to see shapes and colors and details.

To illustrate the gradual progression of a baby’s eyesight, Romesh Angunawela, a consultant eye surgeon at Moorfield’s Eye Hospital located in London, created a GIF that helps us see what our sons and daughters see during the first 12 months of their lives.

Here, you will see the progression of newborn eyesight from birth to 12 months:

Startlingly, during the first month, the average baby can barely see anything. Life passes by as a literal blur. As you can see in the GIF, it is not until the third month that significant details of the mother’s face come into focus, and even then only at a close distance.

“At birth, a baby see things more clearly at eight to 10 centimeters,” said Angunawela, “but their range of vision extends as they grow.”

Doctors believe this is due to the fact that a newborn baby’s brain cannot effectively process the overload of visual stimulation. Thus, it requires a few months of acculturation before the brain can effectively process the data received through the eye.

Recognizing something as simple as the father’s smile may take longer than 3 months. This, according to Angunawela, “may coincide with their first smile, as facial muscle coordination also develops apace.”

Further Reading:

To keep your eyesight strong throughout your adult years, consider this article:  7 Tips to Improve Your Eyesight Fast.