Newborn Eye Color Truths And Facts

Newborn eye color

After establishing whether it's a boy or a girl, newborn eye color is probably one of the very first next topics of discussion. Ultimately your baby's eye color is decided by genetics. So it depends on who his parents, grandparents and so on were, and what color eyes they had.

Eyes at birth

But eyes are one of the parts of baby's body that are not fully developed at birth. If a baby is very premature he may not even be able to open his lids at first. His eye sight is quite blurry for instance and for the first few weeks he can only focus on things a few inches away - the distance between your face and his when feeding. He will be 6 months old before he has proper depth of field and full color vision.

When is newborn eye color fully developed?

It's not surprising perhaps that eye color in the new born isn't fully developed. In most cases baby's eyes will darken in color as he matures. So, while telling everyone 'He's got his Granddad's eyes' may please Granddad, it might not be so true in a few weeks' time. Your baby will usually have half his adult melanin by his first birthday and it may take up to three years before the eyes come to the full and final color... usually somewhat darker than the eyes he was born with.

Special cells called melanocytes make more melanin as the baby gets older. It is the amount of melanin present that affects the color we see, just as the amount of brown dye in a fabric affects the color we see it as. The more of this brown pigment in the top layers of the iris, the more the eye will reflect brown light. Occasionally the color at the back of the iris rolls round to the front producing a darker brown ring around a pale iris.

The less melanin the bluer the eye will seem. A total absence of color is that rare condition of albinism. But at birth the amount of melanin may be lower than later.

What color eyes will it be?

The typical newborn eye color is what is sometimes called 'neutral' eyes... a dull grey in color. It can be the same with skin tones.


As a matron my sister says she can remember parents of mixed race babies checking the baby's nipple color as this was likely to be the color of their skin in a few weeks time.


Blue eyes don't have less pigment than brown eyes, it is just that it isn't in the top layers. See the web page Wonder Quest: Eye Color Mocks Easy Rules for more details. It also explains why a child may have different eye color to either parent... this is because eye color does not rely on one gene alone, but on several.

In many cases brown does predominate over blue i.e. if one parent has brown eyes and one blue, the majority of children will usually have brown eyes. If you want detailed information on this subject have a look at The Eye Reports, but it is really unlikely to affect things very much. The newborn eye color will still become beautiful. And soon he'll be using them to recognize his family and the world around him - then the smiles will begin.

Research into our genetic makeup continues to grow and newborn eye color is one of the areas where there is probably rather more to learn. While scientists think they understand why a baby's eye color develops over time, they are still discovering new things about why eyes change color in later life... or why one eye may sometimes have different pigmentation to the other.

Practical advice

My advice on this subject is simple: Enjoy your baby's laughing eyes whatever color they are right now and see if you notice any difference in a few months time.

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