MadSci Network: Development

Re: At what age(in months)does an infants eye color start to change

Date: Fri Nov 14 14:57:03 2003
Posted By: Seth Horowitz, Faculty, Neuroscience, SUNY Stony Brook
Area of science: Development
ID: 1068688585.Dv

Greetings Christy,

I noticed your previous question and the answer posted, so I will try and 
just answer your question without giving more of the same background 

Iris color is dependent on the relative number of granules of melanin 
within the melanocytes in the outer stroma of the iris.  In adults, blue 
irises have <10 granules per cell, whereas very dark brown eyes can have 

Caucasian infants tend to be born with blue or gray irises, whereas 
African American, latin and asian infants usually have brown-gray eyes.  
The developmental timeline is slightly different depending on the endpoint 
color.  Children who will have dark colored eyes start their color change 
by 2 months of age, whereas those with lighter colored eyes typically 
start later, at about 5-6 months of age.  Usually the color is close to 
the final adult color by about 6 months of age.  However, male children 
sometimes undergo a color shifting to more mixed iris color in puberty, 
followed by a darkening and return to the ealier childhood color.

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