Due to changing obstetric practice, newborn infants are awake and visually responsive after birth and their mothers are often with them during the first hour. Since visual behavior has been cited as central to the infant's ability to solicit affection,1,2 we thought it important to find out if routine prophylactic eye care interfered with it. This reports a systematic study of the effects of silver nitrate on visual behavior during the first postnatal hours.
Report of a Study.—Twenty newborns from Colorado General Hospital were tested for visual responsiveness within the first 90 minutes of life (mean age, 47.5 min; SD, 15 min). All subjects satisfied criteria for normality. Infants whose mothers had received sedation or general anesthesia were excluded. According to random assignment, ten of the 20 infants received ophthalmic silver nitrate (SN) in the delivery room between the one minute and the five minute Apgar scorings. The