All babies immediately after birth have cerulean blue eyes. When does newborn eye color become permanent?
Eye color of newborns
New parents often ask the pediatrician what color the baby’s eyes are and whether the color may change. I never answered this question until the baby is at least 1 year old. When we talk about the eyes colour, we are talking about the appearance of the iris, the muscular ring around the pupil that controls the amount of light that enters the eye.
African-American, Hispanic, and Asian children are almost always born with dark eyes that remain dark.
Caucasian babies are usually born with blue eyes or even dark gray which can change several times before the first year of life.
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At birth, the eyes are gray or blue
The color of the iris, just like the color of the hair and skin, depends on a protein called melanin. We have specialized cells in our body called melanocytes whose job is to produce melanin where it is needed, including in the iris. When the baby is born, after spending its first nine months in the dark, the eyes are gray or blue, as the melanocytes respond to light.
Eye color changes over time
In the first months of life, if the melanocytes secrete only a little melanin, the baby will have blue eyes, if they secrete a little more, his eyes will take on a green or hazel color. When the melanocytes are very busy making melanin, the eyes will be brown, the most common color of all, and in some cases they may appear black. Since it takes about 12 months for melanocytes to complete their work, defining a baby’s eye color with certainty is a gamble. The color change in some subjects slows down after the first 6 months of life, in others they are in the making.
Eye color is a genetic property
The transformation in the color of the child’s eye it depends on amount of melanin present in the iris (the colored part of the eye) and which in turn is determined by the genes the child has inherited – as well as other factors. Melanin, produced by cells called melanocytes, is the pigment responsible for skin and hair color. As sunlight turns the skin a darker shade, it does the same thing in the iris. When the baby comes into the world and is flooded with the bright lights of the delivery room, the light causes the production of melanin in the iris to begin, which can lead to a change in the color of the eyes.
With little melanin production the baby will have blue eyes;
a little more will be of green, gray or hazelnut color;
even more melanin and the baby’s eyes will be brown or even black.
What is certain is that:
- two parents with blue eyes they will most likely have a baby with blue eyes, but it won’t happen every time they have a baby;
- two parents with brown eyes it is likely, but not guaranteed, that they will have a baby with brown eyes;
if you notice that one of the grandparents has blue eyes, the chances of having a baby with blue eyes go up a bit;
self one parent has brown eyes and the other has blue eyes, the chances are about 50% also on the color of the eyes.
If the child has one brown eye and one blue eye, it should be brought to the attention of the pediatrician; we could be faced with a rare genetic condition, the Waardenburg syndrome.
The role of melanin in the color of the baby’s eye
When babies are born with dark hair and light eyes, it means they have little melanin in their eyes. “The amount of melanin in the iris, the colored part of the eye, determines which color a person’s eyes will be,” says Douglas Fredrick, MD, a pediatric eye doctor at Stanford Children’s Health in Palo Alto, California. Genetics controls how much melanin (or pigment) a person will have in their body. The DNA the baby receives from you and your partner determines whether his eyes will be blue, brown, green, or some other color. There is no blue, gray, green, or nutty pigment in the eye, says Dr. Fredrick. The only pigment we have in our eyes is brown, and it is the amount of that pigment that determines whether a person’s eyes will be light or dark.
But it could also be that a baby born to parents with brown eyes has different colored eyes. Why? There are several genes in the body that contribute to eye color and even if the baby’s parents both have brown eyes, it is possible for the baby to have blue colored eyes if the parents have genes for blue eyes somewhere in theirs. genetic code.
How can a parent with one eye color have genes for a different eye color? Through i grandparents, of course. A child’s eye color depends not only on the eye color of mom and dad, but grandparents as well, so if you and your partner both have brown eyes and your toddler green, grandpa or grandma can be the reason. But if your baby was born with brown eyes, it means he already has the amount of melanin assigned by his genetic code, which means his eye color won’t change.