Zietchick Research Institute: How Babies Get Their Eye Colors

When expectant parents wait in anticipation for their newborn baby, they can’t help but to imagine how lovely their child will be. They envision the beauty they’ll see in his hair, his lips, and his cheeks. But one of the most exciting moments by far will be for them to gaze into their new baby’s eyes. Of course, this begs the question: How exactly do babies get their eye colors? Here’s a rundown on what gives a baby his eye color and why his eye color may change over time, according to the Zietchick Research Institute.

The initial color of your baby’s eye will depend on your nationality. For instance, let’s say that you and the other parent have a European ancestry. In this situation, don’t be surprised if his eyes start out being blue. Over time, though, iris cells known as melanosomes start to create melanin, or eye pigment, which will cause his eyes to become darker. During your child’s first through third years, you may see your child’s eyes become less blue and more brown or hazel.Of course, some eyes will stay blue.

If you or the other parent are Hispanic, African American, or Asian, chances are that your child’s eyes will start out brown and stay brown long term. This is because the eyes are probably already producing melanin when he is born. This is because these non-white ethnicities naturally have more pigment in their skin, hair, and eyes even at birth.

Note that the human eye can be a wide range of colors. For instance, in addition to having brown eyes, hazel eyes, or blue eyes, little ones can end up with gray, green, or black eyes. It all depends on how much pigment is present in their eyes. Interestingly enough, blue eyes do not exist as a result of a blue pigment. Rather, a person ends up with blue eyes due to the lack of pigment. In this situation, when light scatters in the iris, the eyes simply appear blue.

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