Can Your Eyes Change Color? – Eye Love Cares

can eyes change color

It’s a given at some point in your life you’ve heard someone state that their eyes have changed color since their birth. It often provokes discussion at offices across the nation begging: can your eyes change color? This article will examine whether or not a person’s eye color can indeed change over the course of their life.


What determines a person’s eye color?

can eyes change colorThe part of the eye which has its “color” is called the iris. This possesses pigmentation, which determines the color of a person’s eye. The most common eye colors are brown, blue, and green. Most people’s eye color can be classified as one of the aforementioned colors. However, there are other colors and combinations such as gray, hazel, and other combinations.

Common beliefs on eye color:

  • Contrary to popular belief, brown is not the dominant eye color as people have thought throughout the course of history. Additionally, blue is not “recessive.”
  • A child’s eye color is not a simple blend of the two parents’ eye colors. For instance, if one parent has green eyes and the other has brown eyes it’s sometimes thought that the child will be born with an eye color consisting of a brownish-green color.

It should be known that most babies are born with blue eyes; however, within the first three years, their eyes may change color or darken. This is due to melanin production, which will develop and was not there at birth. Melanin will develop with age. So, technically a person’s eye color can change within the first three years of their birth. Unfortunately, this is not what most people are referring to when they are telling others that their eye color has changed over time. A lot of people are probably not even aware that most babies are born with blue eyes, but the color will change within the first three years of their life.

Also, children can have completely different eye colors than that of either of their parents. Again, this is completely attributed to the “genetic lottery.” Although, if both parents do share the same eye color, then the probability of their child having the same eye color as them will increase. This is especially true if both parents have brown eyes, then it’s highly likely that the child will also have brown eyes.

Related: Dominant Eye Test: How to Find Your Dominant Eye

Can your eye colors actually change after your early years?

can eyes change colorThe short answer to the question of whether your eyes can actually change colors after birth, is yes. There are a number of potential reasons that may lead to a person’s eyes actually changing color over time.


The first reason that may lead to a person’s eyes changing color is simply that they are aging. Similar to why a baby who is born with blue eyes sometimes will change within the first three years, the level of the melanin increases as you age. While the change in melanin is most common and visible within the first three years of a child’s life, the change may continue for some people throughout their entire life. For instance, as a person grows older, their melanin levels around their pupils may also continue to increase leading to a darkening of the eyes. Approximately 15% of white people’s eyes lighten over their lifetime due to a loss of melanin, pigment changes, or other types of changes. This is the only race in which a lightening of the eyes has been known to occur.

Significant exposure to the sun

It has been found that extensive exposure to the sun can lead to an increase in melanin production. In return, the increase in melanin will lead to the eyes darkening. While researchers have been able to determine this finding, there is no conclusive evidence that can determine exactly how long it would take for this to occur. As with most health and issues dealing with other cosmetic concerns, it will vary from person to person dependent upon genetics and other external factors. For instance, a husband and wife may both move to Florida for retirement and start spending a lot of time on the beach together. After five years of being on the beach together the husband has noticed his eyes to be significantly darker when looking back at pictures before their move whereas the wife has noticed no change in her eye color. Again, this is likely due to genetics in which the significant increase in sun exposure has led to an increase in melanin, resulting in a darker eye color. It will also depend on if you wore sunglasses (which you always should!) to shield your eyes from the UV exposure.

A person’s mood can affect their eye color

It’s true that a person’s mood can alter their eye color, but not in the way that some people may believe when reading this. A person’s eye color will not completely change color regardless of how much of a mood swing they have. For example, if they get really angry or fall in love, their eye color will not somehow miraculously change from brown to blue. It just does not happen like this.

As it was noted at the beginning of this article, the iris is the part of the eye which has the color. The iris is also a muscle, which means that it both expands and contracts to control the size of the pupil. The level of light will impact the pupil’s size. In lower light the pupil will become bigger whereas in brighter light it will become smaller. In addition to the level of lighting the pupil can also change based upon what a person is doing. For instance, when a person is reading their pupil shrinks to focus on something up close. Finally, certain emotions can provoke the pupil to change sizes as well, particularly when someone is scared or angry.

At this point, you’re probably wondering what does pupil size have to do with changes in eye color. When the pupil sizes change, it causes the pigments (i.e. the colors) in the iris to compress or spread away from each other. This will cause the color of a person’s eye to either appear darker or lighter depending upon whether the pupil size has increased or decreased. As mentioned earlier, the color change is noticeable but rather insignificant. Essentially, the color of the eyes have not actually changed; just the pigmentation has been altered. Also, the appearance of the change is not permanent. As soon as the person’s emotions have subsided, and the pupils have gone back to normal size, the normal appearance of the color of the eyes will return.

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Certain foods may alter a person’s eye color

While there is no conclusive evidence to either prove or disprove that foods may alter a person’s eye color, there are people who state that certain foods have indeed done so. The list below provides some common foods that people have indicated caused a change in their eye color.

can eyes change color
  • Chamomile tea- There is no secret that chamomile tea provides an array of health benefits for its regular consumers. It is full of vitamins, which have been clinically proven to provide a host of benefits for vision-related issues such as relieving dry eyes, alleviating dark circles around the eyes, and may even improve a person’s vision. By drinking this tea on a consistent basis, meaning every day, it may promote and protect eye health and prevent eye fatigue. In addition to the health benefits the tea can provide, some people state that it may also lead to your eyes becoming lighter if consumed daily.
  • Onions- These are added to various dishes and foods in all cultures. In addition to being great-tasting, they are also healthy. Onions have been found to decrease risk of a number of chronic diseases, cancers, relieve depression, and may even treat insomnia. The main components of onions that provide the health benefits is folate, vitamin C, and sulfur. All of these have been found beneficial to a person’s eye health. Some people have noted that eating a consistent and regular amount of onions throughout their life has led to small changes in their skin and eye color.
  • Spinach- This is one of the most well-known “superfoods” that likely every nutritionist is likely to recommend for persons to eat on a regular, if not daily, basis. It provides a myriad of health benefits, promotes a healthy weight balance, and improves the body’s protection against diseases. Specifically pertaining to the eyes, spinach contains zeaxanthin and carotenoids lutein. All of these will promote both the health and youthfulness of a person’s eyes. Also, it has an extremely high amount of iron, which can make a person’s eyes appear brighter if consumed on a regular and consistent basis.
  • Uva Ursi Tea- While it is commonly used to treat urinary tract infections, it has other health benefits offered to those who consume it on a regular basis. Pertaining to the eye benefits, it is able to soothe the eyes and make them appear brighter. It provides relaxation to the eyes’ muscles that, in return, will change the appearance their color. People who wished to have a darker eye color have stated that drinking this tea on a consistent basis has led to this result.
  • Ginger- A lot of people use ginger as an all-natural supplement to assist in either weight management or loss, increase protection against infections, and/or improve the body’s immune system. It has also been found to decrease risk of and development of colon cancer due to reducing inflammation. The ginger’s soothing effect and reduction of inflammation throughout the entire body may also result in a slight eye color change. Some people who have used ginger for other health reasons have indicated that throughout continuous use of ginger they have noticed their eyes have become brighter.
  • Nuts- These are among the most nutritious natural snack available as they contain protein, healthy fats, and a limited amount of carbohydrates. Unfortunately for dieters, they are also high in calories, so eating them in limited amounts is key if a person is seeking to lose weight. Raw nuts are the what you should look for if you’re seeking health benefits. Nuts which have been roasted have lost nearly all nutritional benefits and nutrients. Nuts are able to make your eyes look brighter if consumed in moderation according to some people. However, if a person consumes too many, then your eyes may appear darker for a period of time.

Clothing can shift eye color appearance

can eyes change colorThis is not a fashion-related article so the specifics and recommendations of the outfits and colors will not be discussed; however, it is true that the colors and outfits a person wears can change the appearance of their eye color. Again, it’s important to note that the color of a person’s eyes will not actually change based upon the color or article of clothing they are wearing. Clothing color is the primary cause of the illusion, but it may also be caused by the frame color of glasses or a new hair color.

The appearance of a person’s eye color may be altered as people perceive colors based upon the light that reflects off objects. For instance, light may be reflected to a person’s eyes differently if they are wearing a bright red jacket compared to a plain black jacket. The red jacket is going to reflect more light around a person’s eyes, which may slightly alter the appearance of their eye color to others. However, this is less likely to happen for those who have darker shades of eye color, such as brown, as the reflected color is harder to notice, if even possible at all. For someone with a lighter shade eye color, such as blue or hazel, the reflected light hitting the iris may create the appearance that the eyes have changed colors.  


Medical concern for changes in eye color

can eyes change colorSome people may experience a change in eye color by taking recommended steps by others and may even celebrate and be happy for the change. However, a change in any eye coloring may also be a cause for alarm due to an underlying medical condition. Any unexplained change in eye coloring should immediately prompt that person to schedule an appointment immediately with a medical professional.

The list below exhibits some common symptoms of eyes that have changed color and should indicate to that person that medical attention should be sought immediately.

  • The white part of the eyes has become red- Most healthy eyes have very bright white parts. A reddening of the white part of the eyes may be a sign of an allergic reaction, infection, dryness, or fatigue. The good thing is that most of these conditions may be effectively managed with personal lifestyle changes or over-the-counter medication. If personal lifestyle changes or over-the-counter medications do not work in a reasonable timeframe, the person should then seek medical advice to both determine the cause of the issue and a treatment plan.
  • The white part of the eyes has become yellow- This is a more serious condition, which may be correlated with liver issues, particularly jaundice. If you notice the white part of your eyes have started to yellow even the slightest, then you should seek an appointment with a medical professional as soon as possible as this could potentially be a very serious or even fatal issue if not addressed in a timely manner.
  • Pupils appear hazy- This is a tell-tale sign of cataracts. Typically, the haze creates a whitish-blue fog over the pupil of the eye. This is a serious condition, which if not addressed and corrected by a medical professional in a timely manner could lead to further deterioration or even eventual blindness.

As with medical physicals and dental examinations/cleanings, it is strongly recommended to receive an annual eye exam to catch any early signs of a potential issue. Most vision-related illnesses can be effectively treated and cured if they are diagnosed in early stages. However, sometimes issues and diseases occur sporadically, like those mentioned above, and a person should go ahead and schedule an appointment with a medical professional.

Related: Cataract Surgery Recovery

Changing the color of your eyes

can eyes change colorIf you are searching for a way to safely and effectively change the color of your eyes, it is recommended to seek colored contact lenses. The majority of contact lenses that are designed to change the color of a person’s eyes are made to mimic the iris. Some of these contacts are made with different shapes, colors, and lines, which feature a lot of tiny dots radially arranged. However, the center of the contact lenses is clear so that it does not distort your vision.

When searching for contact lenses that can change the color of your eye, you’re likely to find three kinds. The three kinds are listed below.

  • Visibility tint- While they are technically labeled as “colored” contact lenses, they do not, in fact, have any impact on changing your eye’s natural color. Rather, they have a slight blue or green tint added to them. The only reason that the colored tint has been added is to assist some people while inserting and removing them as well as making it easier to find them if they are dropped on the floor. Again, a person who is seeking to change the appearance of their eye color shouldn’t seek contact lenses with visibility tint.
  • Enhancement tint- These type of contact lenses do not change the color of a person’s eyes. However, they do “enhance” a person’s natural eye color and make them “pop.” For instance, if you have dark eyes then wearing them will make them significantly darker. However, most people who wear enhancement tinted contact lenses have light-colored eyes as it makes them a lot more noticeable to others.
  • Opaque tint- These are the types of lenses that a person needs to seek if they are wanting to change the appearance of the color of their eyes. They can actually change the color of the appearance. Before it’s discussed any further, contact lenses are only made to change the appearance of a person’s eye color. In no way, shape, or form will wearing these lenses actually change the color of a person’s eye. As soon as the person wearing them removes the contact lenses people will see the natural color of their eyes. There is a wide range of colors a person may choose from when wanting to change the appearance of their eye colors. A lot of actors in television shows and movies wear these types of lenses for specific roles. In addition to simply changing the appearance of a person’s eye color there are “theatrical lenses,” which also fall into this category, that can actually change how a person’s eyes look. Actors, or even common people, can now have their eyes looking like a cat, alien, or something else.

Information about colored contacts

can eyes change colorWhile not to the level of a cosmetic surgery to change a person’s appearance, a person may still have some questions about taking a leap of faith to try contact lenses that will alter the color of their eyes. Some information about these lenses may be found in the section below.

  • Contact lenses rarely stay in the perfect place that the user intends. This is no different for colored contact lenses. As mentioned earlier, these lenses have tiny dots specifically placed that will go around and over the iris, which will alter the appearance of the eyes’ color but allowing for the vision to not be distracted. There may be times that the lenses will move or slide around, and the tiny dots will go over the pupil and distort the wearer’s vision. In addition to distorting the person’s vision when not being properly placed, it will also create an odd and unnatural appearance.  
  • These contacts are perfectly safe as long as the person purchasing them takes proper precautions. Always make sure that the contacts are prescribed by a reputable medical professional and take care of them as instructed on the lenses’ packaging or by your eye doctor.
  • A person should have an appointment with an eye doctor to have a proper contact lens fitting to maximize the comfort as well as to reduce the possibility of them causing complications, which was covered earlier in this section.
  • A common question that a lot of people have who are interested in obtaining contact lenses to change the appearance of their eye’s color is whether or not they have to actually have a prescription. The answer is yes, they do.
    • According to the Food and Drug Administration, all contact lenses, regardless of their intended purpose, require a prescription by a valid medical professional authorized to write the prescription.
    • Any business or person attempting to sell contact lenses without requiring a prescription is breaking the law. Even if they may have what you are looking for, the quality and reliability of such products of a vendor not following the law is highly questionable. Common places that may attempt to sell contact lenses without requiring a prescription include flea markets, convenience stores, beauty salons, and other forms of novelty stores.


Laser surgery to change eye color- a hope for the future?

can eyes change colorFor persons who have brown eyes who have always wanted blue ones, there is a laser procedure available that may be able to deliver these results. This procedure is still in the developmental phase. For years, eye surgeons have been able to use lasers to correct and improve people’s vision. Now, surgeons have discovered that there is a possibility to change a person’s eye color as well. This is actually permanent and the “real thing” for a person wishing to change their natural eye color to another color.  

Before going any further, please be advised that using a laser to change the color of the eyes is permanent and not without complications. Once the surgery is completed, a person will never be able to recapture their natural eye color. Scientists, researchers, and eye surgeons have found that under every brown is actually a blue eye. The only thing that separates the two eye colors is that there is a very thin layer of pigment covering the blue eye color.

An eye surgeon will use lasers to remove that thin layer of pigment. Once the pigment is gone, it allows for the light to reflect the new blue eyes of a person. It is estimated that the actual procedure itself takes less than a minute for the lasers to remove the thin pigment layer. However, the person won’t have their new blue eyes immediately. It will take a few weeks for the blue eyes to come out of hiding underneath. But, where does that pigment go? There are concerns about this procedure raising the risk of glaucoma, since the pigment would still be in the eye and have the ability to clog drainage channels (which may increase eye pressure significantly).

Permanently changing a person’s eye color is a significant and dramatic step. Before following through with such an action, it is highly recommended for a person considering this to wear contact lenses for some time which just change the appearance. This will give a person time to consider whether or not they like the “new eyes” for them to actually go through with the procedure. And, as always, discuss the potential complications with your doctor.


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