Eyes can change color through adulthood.

When Do Babies Eyes Change to Their Permanent Color?

by Leyla Norman

Transformation in your baby’s eyes can happen in the first several months after birth. It can also happen as they get older. Depending on the genes you and your partner passed down to your child, your baby’s eyes color can change dramatically. They can also stay exactly as they are at birth. Melanin plays the most important role in determining the final color of your baby’s eyes.

1. Six to 12 Months

Babies’ eye color can change permanently between the ages of six and 12 months. Children with Hispanic, Asian or African ancestry are usually born with brown eyes, and their eye color typically doesn’t change. Caucasian babies might be born with blue or gray-blue eyes, and their eye color can change from blue to green, hazel, or brown, says pediatrician David Geller of BabyCenter.com. A Caucasian baby might also end up with a combination of these colors.

2. Genetics

Each parent inherits two main genes for eye color. In general, brown eyes are dominant over blue and green, and green is dominant over blue. The two main genes usually determine eye color in most people, but other genes play a role as well, and this helps account for the greens and hazels some people have. If both parents have brown eyes but carry a blue gene, it is possible that their child will have blue eyes. It isn’t possible to completely predict the eye color your baby will eventually have in life, but you can get a good idea by examining the eye color of yourself, your partner and both of your family members.

3. Melanin

Children with brown eyes have more melanin, or the pigment that determines the color of skin and eyes. Children with blue eyes have just small amounts of melanin, while those with gray, green or hazel eyes have larger amounts. Melanin production in the eye occurs in the iris. When your baby’s eyes see light for the first time, melanin production starts. Your baby’s genes determine how much melanin his body will create, and the amount of melanin determines eye color. Like sunlight darkens skin with more melanin than skin with small amounts of melanin, so eyes with more melanin are darker than eyes with just small amounts.

4. Adulthood Change

Don’t be so sure that your baby’s eyes are done changing color by the time she is about 1 year old, though. Ten percent to 15 percent of people have eyes that change color into adulthood. So those beautiful green eyes might darken over time into a rich hazel even as your child grows into an adult.

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