Do Eye Colors Change?

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We often hear people talk about eyes changing color – either their own or someone else’s. We’d like to shed a little light on the questions to help you understand what you may be observing.

Eye color changes in infancy and childhood

The most common eye color changing occurs in Caucasian infants, who are nearly always born with blue/gray eyes. Those of African, Asian, or Native American ancestry are born with brown eyes, which may darken.

As children age, their eyes change into the color that they will have for life, with brown being the most common. Over the first several months of life, melanin is activated in the baby’s system, which affects skin tone and eye color. The more melanin, the darker the person’s skin and eyes will be. A baby’s eyes finish the transformation around the first birthday, although subtle changes can be seen up until they are about two years of age.

If you notice that your baby is developing differently-colored eyes, such as one that is brown and the other blue, consult your physician, since this can signal Waardenburg Syndrome, a rare genetic condition that can cause hearing loss among other problems. It is important to note that having eyes that are two different colors is a sign of this disorder, but not all people who have differently-colored eyes also have Waardenburg Syndrome.

Can an adult’s eye color change?

Many people report that their eye colors have shifted or changed slightly as they age. There are a few reasons that this may happen, some of which include developing eye disease, which, if detected early, can be treated.

For those whose eyes appear to change color later in life, such as a blue-eyed person’s eyes looking more blue or gray depending on their mood or what they are wearing, this is most likely more of an illusion, albeit a fun one, rather than a true change of color.

One of our more popular options for vision correction, other than our convenient Orem LASIK surgery, is to use colored contact lenses. This allows our patients to have some fun with their eye color.

Another thing that can affect your eye color is some sort of eye trauma or accident. In this case, the eye is damaged and can lose some of its pigmentation of the iris (the colored part). Aging can also cause some pigmentation loss. If you are concerned about either, come in to see us at Utah Valley Eye; we have led the region in vision care and Provo eyelid surgery for years with our state-of-the-art options for your full-service vision provider.

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