Wondering Why?

Why Do Eyes Change Color?

Blue EyeWhy Do Eyes Change Color?

Yes, eyes can change their actual color over years and get lighter or darker. No, they do not change day to day or even month to month. That is just a phenomenon of lighting or of your outfit at the time. The colors or the lights ‘bring out, various colors of your eyes (as eyes are very rarely one single color, but usually a mixture of several) and make them seem more pronounced than the other colors, making the eyes seem to change colors with outfits.

However, your eyes can and often do change colors; it is an alteration of the genes in the cells of the iris; the iris is the colored part of the eye. There is no definite answer as to why this phenomenon occurs; no one knows how the iris cells manage to change their DNA. There is current research going on centered on this subject, as the alteration of DNA could be used as a treatment or cure for many diseases; however, there is very little evidence to suggest that the in vivo, which literally means in life, process will be able to be reproduced in vitro, literally meaning in glass, or in the lab. Also, the timeframe coming with the process would not be ideal, and so the process would have to be sped up before it could be used.

Irises also contain melanin, which is the same skin pigment that darkens to protect your body from UV light ‚ in a process known as tanning. Your skin darkens as a protective measure against harmful UV rays. But other parts of your body also contain melanin, like your eyes and your hair, but they take much longer to darken to produce melanin to protect the body.

Children from European populations are born with unpigmented eyes and sometimes hair ‚ those platinum blonde children with the extremely light blue eyes. They will darken over time as melanocytes begin to produce melanin. Melanocytes are the pigment-producing cells found in skin, hair, and of course, the eyes. Because the melanocytes have to keep producing melanin, in theory, eye color and hair color can change.


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