As you grow older, you may notice certain changes occurring in your body. And one intriguing question that often comes to mind is whether your eyes can change color as you age. The answer, surprisingly, is yes! Eyes changing color with age is a phenomenon that is not only possible but also quite common. This fascinating article explores the various factors that contribute to this phenomenon, including genetics and lifestyle choices. So, if you’ve ever wondered about the possibility of your eyes transforming their hues over time, keep reading to uncover the intriguing truth behind this captivating phenomenon.

Can Eyes Change Color With Age

Factors that Influence Eye Color


Genetics play a significant role in determining your eye color. The color of your eyes is influenced by the pigmentation of the iris, the part of the eye that surrounds the pupil. The pigment responsible for determining eye color is called melanin. The amount and distribution of melanin in your iris will determine the specific hue of your eyes.


Melanin is a pigment that gives color to your hair, skin, and eyes. It is produced by specialized cells called melanocytes. The amount of melanin present in your iris will determine whether you have light-colored, medium-colored, or dark-colored eyes. People with higher levels of melanin tend to have brown eyes, while those with lower levels of melanin may have blue or green eyes.

Light Exposure

The amount of exposure to light can affect the appearance of your eye color. Light-colored eyes may appear brighter or more vibrant in well-lit environments, while darker eyes may appear more intense in low light. This is because the pigmentation in the iris interacts with the light, reflecting and absorbing different wavelengths. The presence of melanin also absorbs some light, which can further influence the perception of eye color.

Eye Color and Newborns

Infant Eye Color

Although the color of a newborn’s eyes cannot be determined with certainty, it is often observed that most babies have blue or grayish-blue eyes at birth. This is because the pigment-producing cells in their irises, known as melanocytes, have not yet fully developed. As a result, the eyes may appear lighter in color during the early stages of infancy.

Temporary Eye Color Changes

In some cases, a newborn’s eye color may change temporarily due to the presence of substances in their eyes. For example, some infants may have a yellowish discoloration of the whites of their eyes, known as jaundice, which can make the eyes appear slightly yellow. Additionally, the use of certain medications or eye drops can cause temporary changes in eye color during the early stages of life.

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Eye Color Changes in Childhood

Development of Permanent Eye Color

As children grow older, their eye color will gradually settle into its permanent hue. This process typically occurs by the age of three, although some children may continue to experience subtle changes into early childhood. The specific color that a child’s eyes will ultimately settle on is determined by their genetic makeup and the amount of melanin present in their iris.

Changes in Eye Color During Early Childhood

While the majority of children will experience a stable eye color by the age of three, there are rare cases where eye color may continue to change slightly. These changes are usually minimal and may be caused by variations in the amount and distribution of melanin in the iris. It is important to note that significant and sudden changes in eye color during childhood should be examined by a medical professional to rule out any underlying health conditions.

Eye Color in Adolescence

Eye Color Stability

By adolescence, most individuals will have a stable eye color that remains relatively consistent throughout their adult lives. The shifting levels of hormones during puberty do not typically affect eye color. Therefore, it is uncommon for eye color to change significantly once it has settled into its permanent state.

Rare Cases of Eye Color Change in Adolescents

While rare, there have been documented cases of individuals experiencing changes in their eye color during adolescence. These changes can occur due to a variety of factors, such as medications, hormonal imbalances, or underlying medical conditions. If you notice a sudden and significant change in eye color during adolescence, it is advisable to consult an ophthalmologist for a thorough evaluation.

Can Eyes Change Color With Age

Eye Color Changes in Adulthood

Gradual Shift in Eye Color

In some cases, adults may notice a gradual shift in their eye color as they age. This change is typically attributed to a buildup of collagen in the iris, causing it to appear lighter or duller. The aging process can also lead to changes in the size and shape of the pupil, which can affect the perception of eye color. However, these changes are usually subtle and do not result in a drastic transformation.

Eye Color and Aging

As we grow older, the distribution and concentration of melanin in the iris may change, leading to variations in eye color. Some individuals may experience a subtle fading of their eye color, while others may notice a deepening or intensifying of their existing hue. These changes are generally considered a natural part of the aging process and are not typically associated with any underlying health concerns.

Disease and Medications

Disease-Related Eye Color Changes

Certain health conditions can lead to changes in eye color. For example, conditions such as Horner syndrome or Fuchs heterochromic iridocyclitis may cause one eye to appear a different color from the other. In some cases, eye color changes can be a symptom of more serious underlying health conditions, such as ocular melanoma. If you notice a sudden and significant change in eye color, particularly if it is accompanied by other symptoms, it is essential to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis.

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Medication-Related Eye Color Changes

Some medications can cause changes in eye color as a side effect. For instance, certain glaucoma medications may darken the color of the eyes over time. It is important to discuss any concerns about medication-related eye color changes with your healthcare provider, who can provide guidance and address any potential risks or alternatives.

Can Eyes Change Color With Age


Complete Heterochromia

Heterochromia is a condition characterized by different-colored irises within the same individual. Complete heterochromia refers to the presence of two distinct, contrasting eye colors. This condition can be present from birth or can develop later in life due to genetic or acquired factors. While complete heterochromia is relatively rare, it can create a unique and striking appearance.

Sectoral Heterochromia

Sectoral heterochromia is a less common form of heterochromia where only a portion of the iris has a different color. This can result in a distinct “splashed” or “split” appearance within the eye. The cause of sectoral heterochromia is not fully understood but is believed to be related to variations in the distribution of melanin in the iris.

Myths and Misconceptions

Eye Color Changing with Emotions

Contrary to popular belief, the color of your eyes does not change with your emotions. Your eye color remains constant throughout your life and is not influenced by your emotional state. However, specific lighting conditions or the dilation of your pupils due to emotional arousal may alter the perception of your eye color temporarily.

Artificial Eye Color Changes

While it is possible to change the appearance of your eye color using colored contact lenses, this does not result in a permanent change to your natural eye color. Colored contact lenses are a popular cosmetic option for temporarily altering eye color for aesthetic purposes. However, it is essential to follow proper hygiene and consult with an optometrist or ophthalmologist when considering their use.

Can Eyes Change Color With Age

When to Consult an Ophthalmologist

Rapid and Unexplained Eye Color Changes

If you experience sudden and unexplained changes in your eye color, it is advisable to consult an ophthalmologist promptly. Significant variations in eye color can sometimes be an early indicator of underlying health conditions, including ocular diseases or systemic disorders. A comprehensive eye examination can help identify any potential underlying causes and ensure appropriate management and treatment.

Uneven Eye Color Changes

If you notice uneven or asymmetrical changes in the color of your eyes, it is recommended to seek medical attention. Uneven eye color changes can be a sign of ocular conditions such as uveitis, which is inflammation of the uvea (the middle layer of the eye). Timely diagnosis and treatment of such conditions are essential to preserve vision and prevent potential complications.


While the color of your eyes is primarily determined by genetics and the amount of melanin in your iris, there are various factors that can influence eye color at different stages of life. From genetic inheritance to aging-related changes, understanding the factors that influence eye color can help you appreciate the uniqueness of your eyes. However, if you experience significant or sudden changes in eye color, it is crucial to consult an eye care professional to rule out any underlying health concerns.

Can Eyes Change Color With Age

By Scott

Hi, I'm Scott, the author behind Welcome to the comprehensive guide to eye health and vision care. With the tagline, "See Clearly, Live Brightly," this website is your go-to resource for all things related to maintaining healthy eyes and addressing eye-related concerns. I've designed this site to be user-friendly and informative, offering expertly curated content to promote optimal eye health. From common eye conditions to preventative measures and advancements in research, you'll find a wealth of information, tips, and resources to support your vision. Join me on this journey to understanding and improving your eye health.