While visually fixating on a central, coloured object, thirty-six infants aged between two and five months were presented with a peripheral target to the right or to the left of midline. Both objects were presented at two distances: either 30 or 90 cm from the infant. The extent of the effective visual field was measured by the presence and the latency of saccadic shifts of gaze from the fixation object toward the target object placed at varying degrees of eccentricity. The effective visual field expanded between two and four months. Near peripheral targets were detected at greater angles of eccentricity than those more distant, but this effect was modified both by age and by the distance of central fixation. For two- and three-month infants the effective visual field was most reduced when the central fixation object was placed at 30 cm and the target object at 90 cm. The ability to respond to peripheral objects more distant than the fixation object develops after three months.