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When will my baby’s eyes begin to change colour?

Your baby's eye colour may take a year to develop, but any change in hue will usually slow down around the age of six months.

You’ve been looking forward to this moment for a long time: looking into your newborn’s eyes for the first time. What’s fascinating is that your baby’s birth eye colour may or may not be their final eye colour: the colour may change over the next few months and years.

What factors influence eye colour, why may it take some time for your baby’s eyes to reach their final hue, and when will you know their eye colour for sure?

What does eye colour indicate?

Eye colour refers to the appearance of the iris, which is the muscular ring that surrounds the pupil (the black area) of each eye. The iris controls the amount of light that enters the eye. The colour of the iris can range from very light blue to extremely dark brown. Unless your baby has jaundice, which creates a yellow tint, or their eyes have inflammation and are pink or red, their pupils will always be black, and their sclera (the whites) will almost always be white.

What colour do babies’ eyes come in?

Melanin, a chemical produced by melanocytes, which also produces your baby’s skin colour, is responsible for the colour of your baby’s irises. Babies of dark-skinned heritage are almost always born with brown eyes, whereas Caucasian newborns are almost always born with blue or grey eyes. Over time, your baby’s eyes may change colour. Babies born with brown eyes will almost certainly remain brown-eyed throughout their life. However, babies born with blue/grey eyes may change eye colour.

When do babies’ eyes stop changing colours?

The full colour of your baby’s eyes appears after about a year. While the rate of colour change slows after six months, the colour may still change. Colour changes in the eyes can occasionally last several years before they become permanent.

What hue will your baby’s eyes be?

Eye colour is determined by genetics. A single chromosome determines the majority of eye colour. It has two genes, one that regulates melanocyte activity and the other that controls the amount of melanin in the iris. These genes work together to define the colour of the eyes. Other genes have a minimal impact. You can’t always predict your baby’s eye colour by looking at your own and your partner’s, but your guess may come true every now and again – it’s all a game of genetics.

Here are some colour options for your baby’s eyes:

  • If you and your partner both have blue eyes, your child is quite likely to have them as well.
  • If you and your partner both have brown eyes, your child is quite likely to have them as well.
  • Your infant is more likely to have blue eyes if one of their grandparents has blue eyes.
  • If you have blue eyes and your partner has brown eyes, or vice versa, your baby, has a virtually equal chance of having any eye colour.

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