The color of the eyes is something very particular to each person. Although we can group them into broad categories such as “brown eyes”, “blue eyes” or “green eyes”, the truth is that there is a wide variety of chromatic tones, ranging from the lightest to the darkest and even eyes that seem marbled with more than one color.
But have you noticed that your eyes change color? If this has happened to you, you are most likely wondering if it is normal or if you should worry.
At we want to explain the reasons why the eyes can change color.
What determines the color of your eyes?
The iris is the colored part of the eye. There are two main factors on which the color of your eyes depends:
- Genetics: Most likely, you inherit the color of the eyes of one of your parents, although, sometimes, you can also inherit the color of the eyes of your grandparents or some other close relative. Some genes are recessive and others are dominant. Brown eyes come from dominant genes while blue and green eyes are recessive. This is why brown eyes are more common.
- Melanin: More commonly, you may have heard of melanin in relation to the skin. It is the substance of our body that protects us from the sun’s rays. So it makes sense that there’s melanin in the body’s main light receptors as well: the eyes. The more melanin you have in your eyes, the darker your iris. For this reason, you’ll often hear it said that people with light eyes are more sensitive to light.
The combination of these two factors is what dictates the final color of your eyes.
Can the color of the eyes be changed?
If you want to change the color of your eyes, it is possible.
The most popular option is to use colored contact lenses. If you have a refractive error such as nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism, you are probably familiar with the advantages of wearing contact lenses and the option of choosing colored contact lenses that modify the natural color of your eyes. Today, we have at our disposal colored contact lenses graduated for myopia and hyperopia or without graduation in silicone hydrogel material to ensure a comfortable and safe bearing on any occasion.
Is it normal if the eyes change color?
Most commonly, a person has the same eye color throughout his or her life. Although the change in color in the eyes can occur naturally, it is not normal and should be consulted with a specialist. Changing color for your eyes may not be anything serious or may be indicative of an eye disease that needs treatment.
Una excepción son los ojos de los bebés. La mayoría de los bebés nacen con ojos de un tono difícil de definir, que oscila entre el gris oscuro, el azul y el verde. Esto se debe a una falta de pigmento ya que todavía no se han expuesto a la luz.
¿Cuándo cambian los ojos del bebé? Conforme este va creciendo, sus ojos van desarrollando pigmento. La tendencia es que los ojos del bebé se oscurezcan con el paso del tiempo, pero también puede darse el caso de bebés con ojos verdes que pasan a ser azules.
Reasons why the eyes change color
Although we have already mentioned that the change in eye color is not a normal occurrence, there are some reasons why you may notice that your eyes change color.
- Sun exposure: Although in this case, the changes are very subtle and infrequent, the eyes can darken after prolonged exposure to the sun. It would be something like if your eyes “got brown”, due to the activation of melanin. However, this exposure to the sun is not recommended for visual health. Remember to protect your eyes with good sunglasses.
- Nevi or Nevus: These are, in simple words, freckles in the eyes. Although they are, in principle, harmless like those of the skin, they must be monitored periodically, to ensure that they do not change shape or grow too much. They are caused by melanocytes (pigment cells of the eye).
- Lisch nodules: This is known as brown bumps and small size that appear in the iris, usually as a sign of neurofibromatosis. This disease does not usually affect vision and people who suffer from it tend to be able to continue their day to day.
- Fuchs’ heterochromic iridocyclitis: This complex name defines an inflammation of the iris and other frontal parts of the eye. This disease has, among other effects, the disappearance of pigment in the iris and atrophy. This causes the color of the iris to look different, lighter or dull.
- Pigment loss: Also known as pigment dispersion syndrome, pigment cells float from the iris to other parts of the eye, causing some of the areas of the iris to appear lighter. This can be a problem if the pigment cells move towards the drainage angle and obstruct it, thus increasing the pressure of the eye.
- Various traumas: Blows and other trauma to the eye can cause the iris to change color, if tissue is lost.
- Anisocoria: This is the term for a pupil that is dilated than the other, causing one eye to appear darker than the other. In this case, there is no color change in the iris, but the appearance is that of having heterochromia. It’s what happened to singer David Bowie.
- Glaucoma medications: If you’re taking this medication, you may notice that your eyes change color and become darker. This change tends to be permanent so your eyes will look darker even at the end of treatment.
In short, if the eyes change color it can be a symptom of a disease, so it is advisable to go to a specialist who can guarantee your health.
Remember that in the stores of Optics we are trained to make your periodic visual examinations and inform you if any anomaly appears.