Why Newborn Eye Colour Changes Over Time

Newborn eye colour is a fascinating thing. Although you may expect to look at your newborn and see your golden hazel eyes, or your husband’s deep brown eyes, chances are you won’t for a while. See, many newborns have steel blue eyes, regardless of either parent’s eye colour. That’s right; even if you both have dark brown eyes, it’s totally normal for your baby to start off with those baby blues. Your child’s eye colour will change over time; in fact, only one in six children still have blue eyes by their first birthday.

Why is the most common newborn eye colour blue?

Melanin, the pigment that colours your kid’s eyes, is secreted as a response to light. Since baby has just spent nine months in the dark, the melanocytes that secrete melanin haven’t gotten to work yet. After birth and being exposed to more light, the pigment in your baby’s eyes will start to accumulate. When only a little melanin is deposited, the iris is blue. A little more melanin will produce green or hazel eyes, and when a large amount of melanin is produced, the result is brown eyes.

When will my baby’s eyes change color?

The full development of newborn eye colour can take up to a year and beyond. After one year, the melanocytes are fully functional and responding to light stimulation. However, the most significant changes will occur within the first nine months of life as pigment begins to be deposited. Beyond this point, only slight changes in eye colour may occur but are still possible. All of these changes are completely normal and are no cause for worry.

Does newborn eye colour affect vision?

The gradual change in newborn eye colour does not affect the baby’s vision and is a completely normal process, so there’s no need for concern. Your newborn’s vision will develop and get stronger over time. However, there may be cause for concern if your baby has two different-colored irises (known as heterochromia). Heterochromia can be totally normal, or an indication of a genetic condition called Waardenburg Syndrome. There are many variations of this syndrome that can cause hearing loss and other pigmentation issues. This condition is passed on genetically. It is best to talk to your pediatrician right away if you suspect your child may have this condition.

Photo: Getty