When do Babies Eyes Change Color?

Seeing the World Through Your Baby's Eyes

The green-eyed monster is bound to strike your child when it comes to coveting a playmate's toys, but will she have the irises to match or will she grow up to be a brown-eyed girl? Guessing your baby's eye color is a natural diversion during those late-night feeding sessions or blissful games of peekaboo. They may change color over the first year of life or remain the same shade as they are at birth. Only time will tell. In the meantime, enjoy gazing into your infant's perfect eyes—no matter their color.

A Color Wheel of Possibilities

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Do Babies Get Their Eye Color From Mom or Dad?

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Not all babies' eyes change color. Babies born to parents of Hispanic, Asian or African descent tend to be born with brown irises that remain brown for life. Caucasian babies, however, are often born with blue or gray irises that may change over time. (The iris is the colored part of the eye, which surrounds the black pupil.) If a change is going to happen, it will most likely occur during the first six months. However, it's possible for a child's eyes to change colors up to and beyond the first birthday.

Eye color is determined by melanin, the same protein that affects hair and skin color. Blue eyes have the least amount of melanin, while brown eyes have the most. Green, hazel and other shades fall somewhere in between. After a baby is born, her body continue to secrete more melanin. As more melanin is produced, the eyes start to gradually change color. A baby born with blue or gray eyes may secrete enough melanin to change her eyes to a shade of green or brown. Alternately, her body may not produce the melanin necessary to cause a change, and she may have blue or gray eyes forever.

Alert your pediatrician if you notice your baby has one blue and one brown eye, or if she has patches of different colors in one eye. These traits can be signs of a rare genetic disorder called Waardenburg syndrome.

Predicting Eye Color

Like those old wives' tales that allegedly predict a baby's gender, guessing your baby's eye color isn't an exact science. It's easiest to guess if both parents have the same color eyes. Two blue-eyed parents are likely to have a blue-eyed baby, but it's very unlikely they'll have a brown-eyed child. Two brown-eyed parents are likely to have a brown-eyed baby, but may also have a blue-eyed baby.

Online baby eye color calculators may give you a sense of the most likely outcome given the colors of both parents' eyes. But because dominant and recessive genes come into play in determining a baby's eye color, the parents' eye colors don't provide enough information to make a definitive prediction.

The Eyes Have It

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Can a Baby's Eyes Get Lighter With Time?

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There's more changing in your baby's eyes than just color. Over the first year of life, her vision with develop and get stronger as her eyes start working together, focusing and perceiving depth. You can help your infant's eyes develop normally by providing visually-stimulating toys to play with while she's awake, talking as you move around her so she can track your movements and giving her safe spaces in which to freely crawl and explore.

Call your pediatrician if your baby's eyes seem to tear up frequently, if they're crossed after the first few months or if just one eye seems to cross. Most babies have healthy eyes, and minor problems can be corrected. If you see something, say something.

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