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Why are So Many Babies Born with Blue Eyes?


Have you ever wondered why so many babies are born with blue eyes, only for their eyes to change colors as they grow? Even if both mom and dad have brown eyes, the baby will be born with clear, blue irises (the colored part of the eye).

According to Norman Saffra, Chairman of Ophthalmology at Maimonedes Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY, it all has to do with how much melanin the child is born with and how melanin increases after birth.

Melanin is a pigment, and the more of it you have in your eyes, hair and skin, the darker they appear. A small amount of melanin in a baby’s eyes will make them appear blue, while a medium amount makes them appear green or hazel, and a large amount will make them appear brown.

So why does eye color change as a baby develops?

A baby’s eye color will typically stabilize by their 6th month of development, but can continue to darken/change for up to three years. Similar to the way that a baby chicken will grow feathers after birth, so too will babies continue to develop post-utero. When they are born they do not possess 100% of the melanin they are destined to have. Throughout their first months of post-utero development, this amount of melanin will continue to develop, leading to changes in eye color.

So, if you have or are close to any newborn babies on a regular basis, pay special attention to their eyes. You never know what changes you are likely to see!