Eye Color Change: Truths And Myths

The formation of eye color depends on the production of melanin in the body. Changes in eye color after the first year of life are rare but not impossible. In this article, we share truths and myths related to the topic.
Changing the color of the eyes: truths and myths

Just like skin and hair color, eye color is also associated with human melanin production. In others, eye color changes during life for many different reasons. In this article, we want to uncover some related myths.

More than 150 genes are involved in the production, transport and storage of melanin. Melanin gives pigment and determines the color of human eyes.

People with blond or blue-green eyes do not produce or store much melanin. While dark-eyed people ranging from dark brown to black have a lot of it.

Determination of eye color

According to an article published in Missouri Medicine the color of human eyes is determined by the density and size of melanocytes. These are melanin-producing cellular structures. Melanocytes are located around the iris stroma and affect the color and shape of the eyes.

The article we mentioned above states that the OCA2 gene on chromosome 15 produces a protein that is responsible for melanin production as well as processing. The more active the gene, the more melanin it produces, thus leading to a darker eye color. However, there are other genes that can affect eye color. Most of them are associated with blue and green eyes.

What is the function of an iris?

An iris is a flat, ring-shaped cell membrane composed of connective tissue and muscle fibers. It is located behind the cornea and surrounds the pupil. The iris is the colored part of the eye and, together with the pupil, controls the amount of light entering the eye.

The muscle fibers in the iris help to dilate and contract the pupil so that light can reach the eye. When everything is in order, it happens naturally in response to the amount of ambient light.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology , this can sometimes look like a change in eye color, but often it’s just a trick caused by light. Changes in light cause the pupil to dilate, which may also look as if the color of the eyes has changed,  but it is only temporary.

However, if you notice a clear change in the color of one or both eyes, you should contact your ophthalmologist immediately. Discoloration of the eyes is quite rare  and can be a sign of a disease such as uveitis, hepatitis or aniridia.

Discoloration of the eyes is rare.
Discoloration of the eyes is rare and may be a sign of illness.

Common beliefs related to eye discoloration

There are several beliefs associated with changing the color of the eyes. We now want to help identify truths and myths. 

People’s eyes are different colors at birth

True. During the first few months, melanocytes are just beginning to function and have not yet produced all of the body’s melanin. The color of the eyes of a newborn baby is therefore likely to change over time.

An article in the American Academy of Pediatrics points out that  melanocytes take about a year to produce all the melanin in the body. In other words, the gray or blue hue of a baby’s eyes may become darker during the first year of life.

It is also possible that some babies have a disease or other condition that affects the pigment at birth, such as albinism or heterochromia. In this case, the eyes may be different colors from each other. This disorder can be caused by accidents, genetic factors or disease.

Green eyes are due to a gene mutation

Tarua. Green eyes are not due to a gene mutation, but rather to the moderate production of melanin and the average density of melanocytes, as  stated in the article Genetics of Eye Color .

An article in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences  , on the other hand, says that eye color is not determined by the number of melanocytes. According to the study,  the structure of melanin affects the color of the eyes. There are three types of melanin: eumelanin, pheomelanin, and neuromelanin. Eye color is only affected by pheomelanin.

The color of the eyes can change depending on the mood

Tarua. The mood does not change the color of the eyes,  or at least no studies have been done to support the claim.

As we mentioned earlier, changes in light cause the pupil to dilate to accommodate a brighter or darker environment. When this happens, a smaller part of the iris is visible, which can make the eye look different in color. The color of a nearby object can also be reflected in the eyes, which only increases this misunderstanding.

The color of the eyes can be changed with surgery

This is true,  but we do not recommend doing it. In addition to colored contact lenses, the color of the iris can be changed by two different surgical procedures. One of these is the prosthetic iris implant, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2018.

The purpose of this surgery was to  treat birth defects as well as repair the eyes after the accident. However, it quickly became a popular cosmetic procedure to change eye color.

However, most professionals do not recommend exposing healthy eyes to this surgery, as it can endanger eye health if something goes wrong. Risks of surgery include increased intraocular pressure, intraocular edema, corneal edema, vision loss, and glaucoma.

Another surgery is corneal keratopigmentation, known as a corneal tattoo. This procedure is for patients who experience varying blindness, causing opaque spots in the eye.

A corneal tattoo helps improve the appearance of a damaged eye with little risk. So this is a good treatment option. If this procedure is to be performed for cosmetic reasons, this clinical study of the medium- and long-term effects of surgery has found that it causes photosensitivity, discoloration of the eyes, and keratitis.

See an ophthalmologist if you notice changes in eye color.

Take care of your eyes

The eyes help you to look at the world and perform daily activities easily. Sight is actually considered the most dominant of the five senses. Even if you don’t like the color of your eyes, it’s important to remember that the measures we mention can cause irreparable damage to your eye health and vision.

The eyes usually remain the same color after the first year of life. See an ophthalmologist if you notice changes in eye color. She can help find out why changes have taken place and what you can do to promote eye health.

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