Obsessed with staring into your baby’s baby blues? Or dreaming of passing down your partner’s emerald green sparklers? Or hoping your siblings all get to share the same gorgeous honey-hue? Well, it might be longer than you think before you can be sure of your baby’s eye colour.
Often when a baby is born we get so excited to share all the details, the name, weight, height, hair colour and of course, eye colour. But it turns out that babies’ eyes can actually change colour up to (and even beyond) 12 months.
So it’s not until around their first birthday that you will know what their eye colour will be.
Some babies’ eye colour may change frequently during the first 12 months – appearing different at 3, 6 and 9 months before settling around the one year mark. The average time it takes is usually 9 months, however, some babies’ eyes will not change colour at all and will stay the same hue they had at birth.
Even more interesting, is that some little ones’ eyes may even continue changing beyond 12 months, and may not stay the same until around the age of 3.
How is eye colour determined?
We know that eye colour is determined by the amount of melanin in the iris and this is determined by a couple of factors. The main factor is genetics – so whatever eye colour both you and your partner have (and even both sets of grandparents) will play a big role.
But that doesn’t mean you’ll automatically pass your eye colour on. Because eye colour is also determined by dominance, brown eyes being the most dominant, before blue, green, hazel and grey.
If both parents have brown eyes: there is a 75% chance they will have a brown-eyed baby. But if there was a grandparent that had blue eyes, there is around a 6% chance the baby may end up with blue eyes.
However, if both parents’ eyes are blue, the chances of their baby having brown eyes are less than 1%.
So several factors can come into play, meaning you never truly know what your baby’s eyes will be until they grow.
What is Heterochromia?
Heterochromia is when a person has more than one eye colour. Typically this is when each eye has a different colour, however, it can also refer to when one eye has two distinct colours within it.
There are 3 main types of heterochromia:
Complete heterochromia: When two eyes have completely different colours, for example, one eye is brown and the other is green.
Central heterochromia: This refers to when one eye has two distinct colours within it. This may occur on only one eye but usually, it will be both.
Sectoral heterochromia: sometimes known as partial heterochromia, refers to when one part of the iris is a different colour from the rest, often appearing as an irregular spot on the iris. It can occur in one or both eyes and may look different in both.
Heterochromia is rare and on average occurs in only less than 0.5% of the population.
Typically, babies born with heterochromia experience no other symptoms or problems with their eyes. In rare cases, it may be a symptom of another condition. Your doctor will discuss this with you and be able to answer any questions you may have.
It can be so exciting imagining what your baby will look like and to think that even once they are born – their eyes will continue to change as they grow. Remember to take lots of photos, because one day your child will get a quick out of knowing their eyes changed colour when they were a baby.