Do eyes develop after birth? When parents first meet their newborn infant, they frequently ask this question. The question is not a clear yes or no answer. All of the necessary pieces of a newborn’s eyes are developed. However, until approximately six months, the eyes continue to expand in size. After then later, the eyes will have grown to adult size and will not grow any larger.
Our eyes develop throughout our lives, particularly throughout our first two years of existence and during puberty as teenagers. Our eyes will continue to change for the rest of our lives.
During a person’s lifetime, their eyes will grow about 1/4 inch in length. Our genes control the development of our eyes.
While our eyes may grow, they will not continue to expand indefinitely. Our eyes have a limit to how big they can go. The size of our orbital socket, the bony cup in our skull that houses our eye, determines most of our eye size. Our genes control the size of our orbital sockets.
Are Eyes Fully Developed at Birth?
While babies’ eyes develop from birth, it might take up to two years for their vision to develop fully. After birth, eyes develop rapidly, then again during puberty until age 20 or 21, when they stop growing in size.
Babies’ eyes expand by roughly 50% in the first six months. A child’s eyes are around 75% of adult size by one year.
The size of our eyes alters as we age, and our eyeballs’ shapes also change over time. Our eyeballs are more spherical or round when we are born, and our eyeballs get increasingly oval-shaped as we age.
The protein collagen in our eye’s outermost layer, the sclera, is responsible for our eyes changing form as we age. With age, the sclera hardens and thins, causing the eyeball to change shape.
The alteration in collagen also affects the quality of our vision. The collagen in our cornea, the clear outer layer of our eyes, begins to degrade as we age, and this causes the cornea to become less curved and less capable of focusing light, resulting in a loss of vision.
Our eyes are not entirely grown at birth but are well on their way. Our eyes need a few years to attain their full capacity, but most development occurs during the first year of life.
The weight of the eyes continues to increase as they age.
Do Eyeballs Grow?
Eyeballs develop significantly from birth to two years as a baby becomes used to the surroundings outside the womb. At birth, the eyes are roughly 65% of their size in adulthood.
The initial eye growth spurt occurs between one and two years
Babies begin to see color in their first month. They develop visual acuity by months two and three (sharpness of vision). These two milestones will improve over the next few months, as seen by a baby’s first eye checkup (recommended at six months of age). Infant begins to coordinate their eyesight with their movements around the end of their first year.
The eyes must accommodate the significant advancement and activity that justifies this first significant era of eyeball expansion. During this stage, vision, and ocular (eye) motor abilities, or the capacity to control eye movement, also improve. During the first year, color vision also matures.
The second eye growth spurt: Puberty
Around puberty, the eyes begin to grow again, along with the numerous other changes that occur in the body. During this period, the eyes reach their full size of approximately 24 millimeters, and they do not get any larger once they reach this size.
Visual acuity may also decrease during this time, but it usually returns to normal by early adulthood. In other words, whether you have nearsightedness or farsightedness as a child or adolescent, it may worsen throughout your 20s.
The eye grows and develops substantially from birth until two years old as the baby adjusts to life outside the womb. The eyes are around 65% of their mature size at birth.
How do Eyes Develop?
It takes years for the human eye, one of the most complex organs in the body, to reach full development. It must collect and focus light using dozens of different neurons before converting it to an electrical signal that the brain can understand. This is a taught behavior that begins before birth.
Eye Development Stages
Only six weeks after conception, eyes begin to grow in the womb and can perceive light even though their eyelid is fused at the start of the second trimester. Babies are born into a world of visual stimuli, yet they cannot yet discriminate between two targets. They are especially interested in items with excellent contrast. Their primary focus is on objects less than a foot away, the distance between their mother’s face and their mother’s face while breastfeeding. Various significant visual milestones follow this during the rest of the first year.
During the newborn period, a baby’s eyes develop the skills necessary to coordinate with one another and follow moving targets. Coordination between the eyes and the hands also improves.
An infant’s ability to perceive depth and thus the world in three dimensions develops at roughly the five-month mark. At this stage, our capacity to perceive color has also matured.
Babies begin to integrate their visual and motor skills at roughly nine months old when they start to crawl, walk, and otherwise demonstrate a growing sense of independence. They have improved their range perception and accuracy.
Maturing Eye Conditions
Although your eyes cease growing, their health and shape, as well as your overall eyesight, might alter. Vision disorders such as presbyopia and cataracts are common in older persons and occur naturally.
When Do Eyes Stop Developing?
Between the ages of 20 and 21, a person’s eyes stop increasing in length—however, a person’s weight increases throughout their lives. As you age, your eyes may change shape, becoming more round or oval.
Other Ways Eyes Change
Our eyes and vision deteriorate with aging. Your eye doctor can monitor these changes, some of which are normal as part of the aging process, and detect any eye disorders or diseases early enough to treat them and prevent vision loss. Here are some age-related eye diseases and conditions:
If your vision becomes blurry, you may develop cataracts. There are several cataracts, but the one most commonly induced by aging is referred to as a “nuclear cataract.” It may cause increased nearsightedness or a brief initial improvement in your reading vision. However, as time passes, the lens becomes increasingly yellow and obscures your eyesight.
The lens may even turn brown as the cataract advances. Advanced lens yellowing or browning can impair the ability to distinguish between color shades and, if unaddressed, can result in blindness. Fortunately, cataract surgery replacing the hazy lens with a clear lens is a very safe and successful therapeutic option.
Blepharoptosis, also known as ptosis, is a drooping upper eyelid affecting one or both eyes. The eyelid may droop slightly or sufficiently to obscure the pupil and limit vision. It happens when the levator muscle in the eye, which lifts the eyelid, becomes weak. This problem is frequently brought on by aging, eye surgery, or a disease that affects the muscle or its nerve. Fortunately, blepharoptosis can be treated surgically.
☞ Detachment of the Vitreous
This happens when the gel-like vitreous fluid inside the eye starts to liquefy and move away from the retina, resulting in “spots and floaters” and, occasionally, light flashes. Floaters and flashes of light are generally harmless. Still, they can indicate the onset of a detached retina, a dangerous disease that can lead to blindness and requires rapid treatment. If you have sudden or worsening flashes and floaters, consult Dr. Hale M. Kell immediately to establish the cause.
☞ Other Age-Related Alterations
In addition to the eye problems and diseases listed above, the anatomy of our eyes and vision change as we age.
Why do adults in their forties and fifties fail to focus on close objects such as books and phone screens? Presbyopia starts to develop when the lens inside the eye loses its ability to change shape and concentrate on objects in close range. As your presbyopia, sometimes referred to as age-related farsightedness, increases, you will eventually require reading glasses to see clearly.
Presbyopia, commonly known as age-related farsightedness, worsens over time, and you will soon need reading glasses to see clearly. You may require multiple prescriptions, one for near vision, one for intermediate, and one for distance vision. In that situation, bifocals, multifocal, or progressive addition lenses are commonly used and can be paired with contact lenses.
☞ Pupil Size Reduction
Our reactivity to light and the muscles that control our pupil size weaken as we age. As a result, the pupil shrinks and becomes less receptive to changes in ambient brightness. The result? In a low-light scenario, such as a restaurant, viewing objects like a menu becomes more difficult.
☞ Eye Irritation
Our tear glands make fewer tears, and those tears contain fewer moisturizing oils. Your eye doctor can evaluate if your dry eye is caused by age or another problem and will recommend the appropriate over-the-counter or prescription eye drops and other effective and long-lasting therapies to reduce dryness and restore comfort.
☞ Peripheral Vision Loss
Per decade of life, there is a 1-3 degree loss of peripheral vision. In fact, by the time they reach their 70s and 80s, people may have lost 20-30 degrees of peripheral vision. While peripheral vision loss is a natural part of aging, it can also indicate a severe eye condition, such as glaucoma. An eye exam is the best technique to determine the cause.
☞ Lowered Color Perception
Colors become less vibrant, and the contrast between different colors is less noticeable as we age because the retinal cells necessary for normal color vision decline. Though faded colors are a natural aspect of aging, they can sometimes indicate a more serious ocular condition.
Aside from the usual aging changes, the risk of severe eye conditions increases, such as age-related macular degeneration or glaucoma. Your eye doctor can help you identify if your symptoms are the result of a medical condition or just the result of aging, so it’s vital to schedule regular exams to maintain optimal eye health.
Final Thought Do Eyes Grow After Birth
While it’s true that our eyes don’t grow much after we’re born, there are still plenty of changes that happen as we age. Presbyopia, for example, is a condition that develops when the lens inside the eye loses its ability to change shape and concentrate on objects in close range. As your presbyopia, sometimes referred to as age-related farsightedness, increases, you will eventually require reading glasses to see clearly.
As we age, our pupils contract and become less reactive to changes in light, making it more challenging to see in low-light circumstances. Additionally, the tear glands produce fewer tears, containing fewer moisturizing oils, which can lead to dry eyes.
Finally, as we age, we lose peripheral vision, and colors become less vibrant. While these changes are all natural aspects of aging, they can sometimes indicate a more serious ocular condition. That is why it is critical to schedule regular eye exams with your doctor to maintain optimal eye health.