I was talking to my friend Dean, and our conversation was about ourselves when we were younger, from birth to elementary school. We started to talk about what our parents told us about when we were little babies and Dean mentioned that he was born with blue eyes and blonde hair. I found this very strange because he has brown eyes and brown hair now. This got me thinking, how can a babies eye color change over time like that? This seemed impossible, mostly because I don’t know much about science at all. My curiosity grew the more I thought about it so I did research.
I first wanted to find out more about the eye. More about its functions and what it is made up of. On WebMD, I saw a breakdown of the eye. There is the iris (the colored part), the cornea (a clear film covering the iris), the pupil (the dark circle in the eye that allows light in), the sclera (the white part), and the conjunctiva (tissue that covers the front of the eye except the cornea). Behind the iris and pupil is the lens that focuses on light. I did not realize how many parts the eye was made up of but I wanted to learn more about the function of the iris in particular and how color is determined initially.
I found an article written on HealthyChildren.org, and it broke down eye color in infants. Eye color is based on melanin. Melanin is a protein that determines color of skin, eyes, and hair. Melanocytes work with melanin and distribute it where it is needed, such as eyes. Initially babies are born with gray or blue eyes because of their lack of exposure to light since the womb is dark. This explains why your eye color would change over time. Depending on how much melanin secretes over the span of the first year, your baby will end up having blue eyes, green, hazel, or brown. The less melanin that secretes, the lighter the eyes.
I think my friend Dean carried his parents genes of dark hair and dark eyes, but due to the lack of light in his mothers womb, he was born with blonde hair and blue eyes. Over time his genetics took over and his eyes changed to their correct color. Same with his hair. What I find interesting is that many babies are born with dark hair and dark eyes already. Their genes may have taken over already in the womb and the amount of melanin that was able to secrete took over.