Scientists have discovered that the our vision keeps maturing until we are in our late 30s - decades later than previously thought.
The visual cortex, the human brain's vision-processing centre, was previously thought to mature and stabilise in infancy.
But now, a US-based team have discovered that it actually continues to develop until the late 30s or early 40s.
Professor Kathryn Murphy, from McMaster's department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour, led the study using post-mortem brain-tissue samples from 30 people ranging in age from 20 days to 80 years.
Her analysis of proteins that drive the actions of neurons in the visual cortex at the back of the brain recasts previous understanding of when that part of the brain reaches maturity.
The finding was a surprise to Prof Murphy and her colleagues, who had expected to find that the cortex reached its mature stage by the age of six.
They reckon their findings could help come up with new treatments for conditions like 'lazy eye' because previously it was thought that treating young adults would be pointless because they had passed the age that their brains could respond.
She said: "There's a big gap in our understanding of how our brains function.
"Our idea of sensory areas developing in childhood and then being static is part of the challenge. It's not correct."
The research was published in The Journal of Neuroscience.