Vision in utero: it's already your eye

Vision in utero: it's already your eye

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In utero, sight is the least developed sense in your future baby ... which does not prevent him from being sensitive to light. Explanations.

  • At three weeks of intrauterine life only, no bigger than a grain of rice, your future baby begins to sketch his visual system.
  • At 6 weeks, the optic nerve makes its way to connect the "primitive" brain to the retina. The elements of the eye, the iris (which modifies the diameter of the pupil and modulates the amount of light that enters the eye), the crystalline lens (transparent lens, which allows the development of the retina on which 'inscribed image') and the cornea (which focuses the light on the retina) form under the cover of closed eyelids, which it will open only around the twentieth week in utero.
  • From the fifth month of pregnancy, all the "components" of the eyes are practically formed. It remains for them to gain volume and refine the connections that connect them to the brain.
  • These connections will be in place only around the 7th month of intrauterine life. Vision is the last sense to mature. Inside its uterine cave, the panorama is well reduced!
  • Do you sunbathe? Your baby perceives diffuse light through the abdominal wall and amniotic fluid. He sees his hands, his feet and his umbilical cord ... If during an amnioscopy, it triggers a light in his small cockpit, his heart rate accelerates, proving that his visual system is well connected!

Marie Auffret-Pericone, with the collaboration of François Vital-Durand, researcher at the National Institute of Health and Medical Research.