When Do Babies Eyes Change Color?
The birth of a new baby brings many exciting questions. New parents often gaze at their adorable little bundle and the comments on who he favors more abound. Then when you get that first glimpse of his little peepers, you cannot help but wonder if they will remain light and reflects your spouse’s baby blues, or if the hue will darken and be as warm as your own. Why do babies eyes change color, and what is the likelihood that your baby’s eyes will change too?
Why do Babies Eyes Change Color
At birth, many babies, especially fair-skinned ones, will have light gray or blue eyes. Many people are under the common misconception that all babies are born this way. However, if you ask an expert they will tell you that babies can be born with all different colors. While some come out bearing tender brown eyes, others will peek at you with clear blue ones. There are a couple of reasons the eye color of your little one may change.
The colored part of the eye refers to the iris. This is the part that controls the amount of light allowed into the pupil by means of expanding and contracting. Melanin is not only responsible for giving your skin and hair their color, but it gives your eyes their color as well.
When a baby is born and its eyes are exposed to light for the first time, their melanocytes are stimulated and begin to produce melanin. This melanin plays a key role in whether babies eyes change color. According to the script written in your baby’s genetic code, the melanocytes already know how much melanin they are supposed to produce. So, well before you know what color your baby’s eyes will be, his DNA already has it all figured out.
Through the first year of your baby’s life, their eyes may shift several times as the melanin production regulates. Baby’s who have active melanocytes will produce more pigment in the iris resulting in darker eyes while slower melanocytes will produce little pigment allowing eyes to remain lighter. Of course, different levels of production can fall anywhere in between so your little one can have green or hazel eyes too.
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If your understanding of genetics is limited, you may think that babies eyes change color depending on their parent’s eye color. It should be simple, right? Brown plus brown equals a brown-eyed baby while a set of parents with blue eyes will yield a light-eyed baby. If it were only that simple there would be no need for this or any other article to delve into the reasons a babies eyes change color as it grows.
There are actually various genes that help dictate whether babies eyes change color over time. Even if you and your spouse both bear a striking pair of dark eyes, that does not necessarily mean your little one will follow suit. If either of you has recessive genes for blue eyes in your genetic makeup, you may see that come out in one or more of your children. Where do those recessive genes come from? Take a look at baby’s grandma and grandpa’s eye colors and you may find your answer.
With so many factors playing a role in the color of your baby’s eyes, not even your doctor can say definitively what color their eyes will end up. You have likely come across charts and prediction tools online that claim they can tell you what color to expect when babies eyes change color. Though these may take a few pieces of the puzzle into consideration, they do not have the ability to peer into your genetic code to give you an accurate result. However, they are entertaining and fun to try out anyway.
To parents who are hoping for that baby with certain eye color, it is left up to genetics and nothing you do can alter what is written in that code. Factors like a baby’s diet, their exposure to light early in life, or any other environmental alteration can sideline what is to be. So, revel in whatever color your baby is gifted with. It can be a fun timeline to observe as babies eyes change color.
The Impending Color Shift
So, you have done all your research on why babies eyes change color and yet curiosity has still gotten the best of you. Now you want to know if there are any indications you can pay attention to that may be a tell-tale sign of eye color. Here is a short list of signs to watch for. Be aware, none of these are foolproof signs and babies eyes change color in surprising ways.
• If your child is born with dark eyes, they will almost certainly remain dark without much more than a slight shift in the shade.
• If a baby is born with blue eyes that are clear and bright, there is a greater possibility they will stay that way. It would be less likely that babies eyes change color in those situations.
• A cloudy blue or gray often means light eyes will change to another color though you will not know if that color is green, hazel, or brown.
• Check for flecks of gold in the iris. If there are none, chances lean towards staying blue. If you see a few golden flecks, they will likely spread and blend into darker shades.
When do Babies Eyes Change Color
It is common for many babies to be born with a lighter shade than what they will end up with. Typically, a newborn’s eye color will begin to change somewhere between 6 and 12 months. However, they may go through a few periods where the color can shift a little more. It can take up to 3 years before a child’s eye color finally settles into their permanent shade.
If your baby’s eyes are destined for a change, they will slowly get darker. As a general rule, eyes start light and darken to a green, hazel, or brown. Since the pigment is being produced to cause the darker shades to appear, eye color will not start or shift to brown and then revert back to a lighter color. Some children, about 10 percent, will experience slight color changes well into their adult years.
When to be Concerned
In most cases, a baby’s eye color will change and have no effect on their eyesight or indicate there are any other issues. Sometimes there are aspects about your little one’s eyes that may worry you but are completely normal. On rare occasions, there may be a reason to give your doctor a call.
• Crossed eyes- Remember that your baby has not been using his eyes for very long. Thus, his muscle control has not had enough time to develop. So, some degree of random eye crossing is to be expected.
• Lack of focus- If your child seems to look past you, do not worry. A baby’s eyes are sensitive to light and their vision is full of gray, blurry shapes. As their eyesight develops you will notice your baby tracking objects and trying to focus more on a specific spot.
Give your Pediatrician a Call
If you notice any of these signs, it could point to a problem with your child’s sight. It is better to be safe than sorry so talk to your baby’s doctor if:
- You notice one eye does not move when the other is looking around.
- Your baby passes the one month mark but you still cannot catch his attention with objects like lights or mobiles.
- One of your child’s eyes does not open.
- When you take photos using a flash you notice a white or strange colored spot in your baby’s eyes instead of the typical red-eye.
- The pupils look cloudy or have a grayish to yellow hazy layer.
- There is noticeably some bulging in one or both eyes.
- You notice the eyelids droop.
- Your baby always seems to be squinting.
- Your baby rubs his eyes excessively.
- He seems to have light sensitivity.
- The eyes are not the same size.
- Regardless of the lighting, your baby’s pupils are different sizes.