What determines our eye color?

mom and babyWhen you meet someone new, their eyes are often the first feature you are drawn to. There is such a wide array of eye colors. The colored part of our eye is called the “iris”, which comes from the latin word for rainbow. Do you ever wonder why newborns are born with a hazy gray-blue eye color? It’s because infants have no melanin (pigment) in their irises. It takes a while for the melanin to build up – the majority of babies have fully developed melanin by 6 months of age.

FriendsGenetics play a large part in how we get our eye color….. We have cells in our iris called melanocytes, which contain melanin, or pigment. The amount of melanin in each of those cells helps to determine the color of our eyes, and our genetic code determines how much melanin goes into each of those cells. This is the same pigment that gives your hair and skin their color. Higher amounts of melanin will lead to dark eyes, hair and skin, whereas lower amounts result in just the opposite. In light-colored eyes, there is a smaller amount of brown pigment on the back of the iris, and the blue or green eye color actually results from light scatter within the iris. So, in human eyes, there isn’t actually any blue or brown pigment! This is why eye color seems to change depending on lighting conditions.

We, here at Milwaukee Eye Care take pride in caring for your eyes, no matter the color. Call us today for a comprehensive eye exam.

“Of all the senses, sight must be the most delightful!” -Helen Keller

Written by Shawnté G, Surgical coordinator/Ophthalmic technician at Milwaukee Eye Care.