Pediatricians learn a few things about babies eye colors in school.
We learn that they can have eyes with two different colors – heterochromia. And they can have ocular albinism, very light colored eyes caused by having reduced amounts of pigment.
And we learn that eye color is a genetic trait, although lately, we have come to learn that the genetics of eye color is fairly complex. That’s why two parents with blue eyes don’t always have a baby with blue eyes. Or why two parents with brown eyes can have a baby with blue eyes.
Common Questions About Baby’s Eye Color
What questions do parents usually have about their baby’s eye color?
There are a few basic variants that revolve around if and when a baby’s eyes will change color and how they got to be that color:
- My baby’s got blue eyes, will they stay blue?
- Why does my baby have blue eyes?
- How can I turn my baby’s brown eyes blue?
The first question is easy.
Your baby’s eyes can change color until they are about six to nine months old, or sometimes even later.
Well not exactly change color. They usually just get a little darker, sometimes changing from blue to green, hazel, or brown, as they get more pigmented. They don’t usually become less pigmented though, or become lighter, which is why a baby’s brown eyes won’t turn blue.
“Many studies divide eye colors into three categories: blue (or blue and gray); green and hazel; and brown.”
Eye color: The myth
The second question is harder to answer, involving some complicated genetics.
“The inheritance of eye color is more complex than originally suspected because multiple genes are involved. While a child’s eye color can often be predicted by the eye colors of his or her parents and other relatives, genetic variations sometimes produce unexpected results.”
Is eye color determined by genetics?
What makes it complicated?
To begin with, several different genes (at least three and perhaps up to 16) are involved in determining our eye color. There is not a single gene for blue, green, and brown eyes. Instead, there are multiple genes that interact with each other.
Basically, the original concept of dominant and recessive eye color traits has been found to be too simplistic.
Still, you can try an eye color calculator if you really want to try and predict what eye color your children will have. It’s fun and while not perfect, it will be right most of the time.
What about the last question? How can you make your baby’s brown eyes blue? Tell him that you wish he had blue eyes…
What to Know About Baby’s Eye Color
While your baby’s eye color is determined by genetics, predicting the eye color of your baby is not as simple as knowing the eye color of each parent.
More on Baby’s Eye Color
- Is eye color determined by genetics?
- Eye color: The myth
- Eye Color
- Why did the very blue eyes of a kid become brown when he grew up?
- Blue eyes are caused by changes in the OCA2 gene
- If both parents have blue eyes, how could they have a child with brown eyes?
- Eye colors that go against the rules
- How do different shades of eye color happen? Like light or dark brown?
- Are gray eyes the same as blue in terms of genetics?
- Is eye color connected to hair color? Why do people with blond hair typically have blue eyes?
- Eye Color: Unique as a Fingerprint
- Your Blue Eyes Aren’t Really Blue
- Why Are Brown Eyes Most Common?
Last Updated on May 15, 2018 by Vincent Iannelli, MD