Newborn: when does eye color become definitive?

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The color of the newborn's eyes

Gray, a little tending towards blue, or brown. As soon as she takes a few hours old baby in her arms, she immediately looks him in the eye. And one of the first questions a parent asks is: "What color are his eyes?"
But to know exactly the color of the eyes you have to wait until the baby is at least one year old. The color of the iris, like skin and hair color, depends on the amount of melanin present.

In this article

  • The color of the newborn's eyes
  • The genetic characteristics
  • When eye color changes
  • Heterochromia: when the child has different colored eyes
  • If there is a slight squint
  • 6 months: the first visual stage
  • Eyes after six months

The color of the newborn's eyes

When a baby is born, his eyes typically are gray or milky blue, which at certain times of the day, and based on the light, can tend towards blue. However, this is not the definitive eye color. The gray / blue color of the iris that we see at birth and during the first months depends on the little melanin.

Melanin is produced by specialized cells, called melanocytes, whose job is precisely to produce melanin where it is needed. Melanocytes are activated only in the presence of light, and the little one was for nine months in the dark in the womb. So the melanocytes begin to activate only after birth and finish their work after about a year. And therefore only on the first birthday will it be possible to really understand the color of the child's eyes.

Then there are children who pull out immediately dark or brown eyes; in these cases they will hardly change into lighter colors such as blue, gray or green because the amount of melanin is already present in the genetic code and can therefore only stabilize.

Also Read: Why Do Some Babies Have Blue Eyes?

What color will the baby's eyes be? Find out in this podcast

What color will the baby's eyes be? When does the color become definitive? Answered by doctor, midwife at Studio Intreccio Treviglio

The genetic characteristics

As we have seen, the amount of melanin in the iris, the colored part of the eye, determines what color the eyes will be of a person. And the genetics which controls how much melanin a person will have in their body and thus whether their eyes will be blue, brown or green.

At this point, the child:

  • will blue eyes if your melanocytes secrete little melanin;
  • if they secrete a little more, they will be green or hazelnut;
  • When the melanocytes work a lot, the eyes will turn brown (the most common color).

It must be remembered, however, that the dark color is dominant than the light color and therefore there are more chances to pass it on. Given this, it is possible that a baby with blue or green or gray eyes will be born to parents with brown or black eyes, if in the family of one of the two there is someone with the same characteristic.


What and how the newborn sees

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Can newborns already see from birth? And when do they start to distinguish the features of mom and dad? Do they recognize colors? Find out what and how children see from birth to first ...

In summary, we can say that:

  • two parents with blue eyesthey are more likely to have a child with blue eyes, but this may not always be the case;
  • two parents with Brown eyesthey are more likely to have a brown-eyed child, but this is also not guaranteed;
  • se one of the parents has brown eyes and the other blue, the probabilities that the eyes are of one color or the other are equal;
  • if one of the grandparentson the part of the brown-eyed parent who has blue eyes, the chances of having a child with blue eyes increase a little.
Read also: What color will the baby's eyes be?

When the baby's eye color changes

The biggest change is usually seen between 6 and 9 months of life, but the eye color may still vary and we may continue to notice slight color changes. An example? The green eyes gradually turn into hazelnut and the hazelnut into brown. What we can be sure of is that from brown they will never go back to blue because dark eyes tend to stay dark for most children.

Typically, a child's eye color changes without affecting his vision and without creating eye problems. But if only one eye changes color (very rare event anyway) or if you notice a clouding in the child's eye, it is good to contact your pediatrician or pediatric ophthalmologist.

Heterochromia: when the child has different colored eyes

We speak of heterochromia when the color is different between the two eyes (complete heterochromia) orinside of the same eye (partial heterochromia) and is due to a different concentration and distribution of melanin between the two eyes. However, it should not be confused with the normal shades of color present in the same iris.

As we said above, it is still a very rare condition that affects about 1% of the population. Because it can sometimes be associated with some rare diseases, an ophthalmological evaluation is required.

If there is a slight squint

Besides eye color, parents often note with concern that their newborns are a bit squinting. But in the first six months of life, a slight squint is normal. Most vision development occurs in the brain and not in the eyes. One of the biggest challenges for the brain is coordinate visual cues side to side. The nerve signals from the eyes travel through the optic nerves and divide on both sides of the brain. In order for these signals to be logical, the two sides of the brain must cooperate, comparing information and coordinating the movements of the eyes in the desired direction. 
It may be that up to two months of age the baby has difficulty following a game that goes from one side to the other. But by the two months, however, he must be able to follow from right to left and vice versa.

Read also: Newborn has crooked eyes, do I have to worry?

6 months: the first visual stage

The other great visual stage occurs at 6 months of age: at this age the two sides of the brain are in good relationship with each other. The two eyes follow objects together provided they both have something to see. At 6 months, therefore, the eyes should go in the same direction even when one is temporarily covered.

In fact, to see if the eyes are well coordinated, you try to cover one and then suddenly discover it and see if it was following the other or not.

Read also: The most common visual defects in children

Eyes after 6 months

If after 6 months, parents notice that one eye does not always go in the same direction as the other, it is necessary to inform the doctor. It may be that one eye sees less well than the other, the so-called lazy eye (amblyopia). In this case, it is important that the problem is treated before the child turns three. Treatments for amblyopia depend on the severity of the condition. Some children need lenses or an eye patch to force the brain to pay attention to signals from the weaker eye.

Read also: Children view: how to protect the eyes of the little ones

  • children's eye color
  • eyes of a newborn
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  • strabismus in infants
  • amblyopia in children
  • eyes color babies
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