Why Are Babies Born With Blue Eyes?

Ocular Migraine
July 23, 2018

During the first twelve months of life a baby’s life could change several times. Her mother has vibrant green eyes and her father’s eyes have always been dark brown, so why was she born with bright blue eyes that changed slowly to slate-gray and finally to a happy hazel?This baby with light skin, light hair and light eyes, she was born with low levels of melanin, or pigmentation. Once she entered the world, the natural light boosted the melanin levels in her irises and a color change slowly began to occur.

Melanin is the dark pigment occurring in the hair and the iris of the eye. Melanin is responsible for tanning, freckling, and changing of hair and eye color. Caucasian babies are born with hardly any melanin, resulting in light blue eyes and cream-colored skin. The more the baby is exposed to sunlight, the more melanin levels will rise, resulting in the changing of eye, hair and even skin color. It needs to be noted that the only “color” melanin (or pigment) has, is brown. There is no such thing as green, blue, hazel or grey pigmentation. These colors are simply determined by the amount of melanin in the body. The more melanin a blue-eyed baby has, the more brown is flecked through the blue, making the color slightly darker, perhaps greener. Add more melanin and the eyes will change again, maybe into a rich hazel.Add more melanin and those hazel eyes might transition into a mossy brown; and so on and so fourth.

On the other hand, however, are babies with Asian, Hispanic or African-American parents. These babies are typically born with pre-determined, high levels of melanin, producing dark features like tan skin, deep brown eyes and ebony hair. Because the pigment is already present, these features are likely to go unchanged.

Though some babies’ eye color changes rapidly with the onset of melanin, most infants undergo significant changes between six and nine months of age. This phenomenal occurrence happens once the iris has stored enough pigment to influence subtle changes like blue to grey, green to hazel, hazel to brown and so on. Although this change will likely last through the early stages of childhood, about 10% of the population experiences changes in eye color even into adulthood.                                            Though the ultimate color of your baby’s eyes is hard to detect, a good indicator of the potential color comes from the DNA makeup of you – the parents – as well as the grandparents. If you and your partner both have brown eyes, but your baby has green, it might be a genetic tie to one of your parents. However, by their first birthday, most babies will have reached their permanent eye color.

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