122013Aug

Will your baby’s eyes change colour and if so, when?

Your baby’s eyes may start as a beautiful blue colour but will they stay that way and when will you know for sure?

The most dramatic changes will probably occur when your baby is between 6-9 months old. By that point, the iris has stashed enough pigment that you’ll be able to better predict what the final hue will be. Even so however, your baby’s eye colour may still hold some surprises — you may continue to notice subtle eye colour changes until the age of three (just don’t expect baby browns to revert back to blue — dark eyes tend to stay dark for most babies) and in about ten percent of people, eye colour can continue to change even into adulthood.

So what is responsible for this magic transformation in your baby’s eye colour?

The answer depends on the amount of melanin present in the iris (the coloured part of the eye) — and that in turn is determined by the genes your baby has inherited — as well as other factors.

Melanin, produced by cells, is the pigment that’s responsible for giving you the colour of your skin and hair (or at least the hair colour you had as a kid). Just as sunlight turns the skin a darker shade, it does the same thing in the iris. When your baby enters the world (and into the bright lights of the birthing room), the light kick-starts melanin production in the iris, which can lead to eye colour changes. Just a smidgen of melanin and your baby will have blue eyes; add some more and you get green, gray, or hazel; even more and your baby’s eyes will be brown or even black.

How much does genetics come in to it?

The final hue of those pretty peepers also depends on you, your partner, and a roll of the genetic dice. Since there’s still a lot that’s not understood about the interplay of genes and their role in determining eye colour, it’s hard to make, well, hard-and-fast predictions about the shade your baby’s eyes will end up. There are some probabilities: If both you and your partner’s eyes are brown and one of you had a blue-eyed parent, then there’s a slight chance your baby’s eyes will stay blue. If one of you has blue eyes and the other brown, then your baby’s eyes have a 50-50 chance of switching shades. If both of you are blue-eyed, then it’s very likely that those baby blues will continue to bat at you for many years to come.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this blog! For any assistance or questions about general eye health, Please contact Jan and the team.