How many times have you been complimented on the color of your eyes? Have you ever looked in the mirror just to see what shade they were? Your eye color is one of many traits you have that make you unique, but did you know that it may change from time to time?
The colored part of your eye is known as the iris, which surrounds your pupil and is filled with the pigment melanin. It serves an important role in your eye by limiting the amount of light that passes through your lens and retina, so it’s not merely an aesthetic feature.
Your eye color is, for the most part, passed down from your parents’ genetic traits through dominant and recessive alleles. For example, two brown-eyed parents have a nearly 80% chance of having a brown-eyed offspring, but they could also have a blue or green-eyed child as well – though it’s less likely. Genetic mutations can also happen to affect eye color, leading to eyes with different hues, multicolored eyes, or even atypical colors like violet.
Babies can experience a change in eye color as more melanin is formed in the iris. Dr. Elliot McKee, a CEENTA ophthalmologist from our SouthPark, Belmont, and Statesville offices, elaborates on this transition. "A baby can be born with any color eyes. Their eye color can change during the first 6-12 months of life. It is common for a baby's eyes to gain more pigment and become darker during this time."
While a full change of eye color as an adult is unlikely, the way it appears to others can change depending on light. Sun exposure causes your body to create more pigmentation, so naturally your eyes can be a touch darker when you’re outside. As you get older, your eyes may become lighter or darker, which does factor into how active you are outside.
Iris implant surgeries have been a topic in recent years as a means to replace the one present in the eye, but this procedure is reserved mainly for those who do not have a clear or natural lens or suffer from cataracts and is not recommended for cosmetic purposes. That said, colored contact lenses are an option provided that they are obtained from a safe, reputable vendor. If you want to save money, your clothes can also impact how others see your eyes, as complementary or matching colors can make the eyes more prominent.
No matter what color your eyes are, it’s important to keep them healthy. Having routine eye exams can make sure that your vision is up to date, while finding the right pair of glasses or contacts can really highlight your face. Schedule your appointment with Dr. McKee and other CEENTA eye specialists from our SouthPark, Belmont, or Statesville offices today for vision care that truly stands out.
This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. New patients can make appointments online with our eye doctors in North and South Carolina. Current patients can also make appointments through myCEENTAchart with physicians they have already seen.
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