When Do Babies' Eyes Change Color?
Why Do They Change Color?
When babies are born, especially fair-skinned ones, they have light-colored eyes because they have very little melanin in their eyes..
Melanin is a type of pigment that gives color to the eyes, skin, and hair. "The amount of melanin in the iris, the colored part of the eye, determines what color a person's eyes will be," says Douglas Fredrick, M.D., a pediatric ophthalmologist at Stanford Children's Health in Palo Alto, California. Genetics control how much melanin (or pigment) a person will have in her body.
The DNA your baby receives from you and your partner determines if her eyes will be blue, brown, green, or another color. She may be born with blue eyes (the eyes sometimes don't produce much -- if any -- melanin while the baby is in the womb), but after birth, light stimulates the production of melanin, which is why the eye color may darken or change over time. It's important to understand that it's not the color of the pigment that causes the change. There is no blue, gray, green, or hazel pigment in the eye, Dr. Fredrick says. The only pigment we have in the eye is brown, and it's the amount of that pigment that determines whether a person's eyes will be light or dark, he explains.
Typically, you'll see the biggest change in the first 6 to 9 months of life, Dr. Moorjani says. Over several weeks or months, you may notice your baby's eyes getting darker. The change is so gradual that you may not notice until, one day, the baby wakes up and surprises you with a different eye color! By 12 months, most babies will have their permanent eye color, although Dr. Fredrick says that some children's eye color may still change up until age 6, though this occurrence is rare and the change won't happen overnight.
Red Flags and Other Concerns
Generally, your baby's color will change without affecting his vision or any other eye issues. But if only one eye changes color (which is very rare) or if you notice cloudiness in your baby's eye, contact the pediatrician or pediatric ophthalmologist.
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