For a long as I can remember people have told me that all babies are born with blue eyes. But is this really true? Is it simply an urban myth or is there more to it? I know I tried to look with my own children. I know that one, out of the three of them, does have blue eyes now. But when they were born it was sometimes hard to tell. And also, years later, it’s now pretty tricky to remember!
Child Number 1
My firstborn’s eyes were most definitely blue when she was born. But they gradually turned to grey and I was ever hopeful that this colouring would remain. Not that it matters but my eyes are a blue/grey/green (depending on the weather, it seems) and my husband’s eyes are brown. So I was just hoping there was a little more of me in the genetic mix there! However, not long after they turned grey the brown started to creep in until she ended up at the lovely colour she is today.
Child Number 2
She was a definite blue-eyed girl when she was born and still is to this day. I don’t even have to rely on my memory to remember! So she most certainly takes after me with her eye colour. Although, like me (and my Dad), her eye colour appears to change. I am not entirely sure what causes this; weather, moods, hormones or the clothes we wear. But some days our eyes are definitely more blue and others more green! Quite the chameleon.
Child Number 3
Now I have to admit, by baby number three my brain was just a little bit fried. So I literally cannot even recall if his eyes started out as blue. But I do know he now has a definitely hazel colouring, just like my eldest. So off I went to look through old photographs and to be honest they do look maybe a little blue around the edges, but he had more of a hazel tinge from the start.
So does this prove that all babies are born with blue eyes? Probably not. In fact it doesn’t prove anything other than I have a shocking memory after having three children!!! And although I do see a lot of newborn eyes in the studio, I have to say that I don’t personally think it is true. Some babies’ eyes are so deep in colour that it is impossible to see any hint of blue in there!
So I started to investigate and it seems that this is a total myth! I have no idea why or when this all started, but I guess, like all old wives’ tales, it will remain that way and we may never know.
Stanford University even conducted a study into this in 2016. They looked at 192 newborns and found that only 20.8% have blue eyes! A whopping 63.0% had brown, 5.7% had green/hazel and the rest were undetermined. Here is the NLM report if you would like to find out come more information.
So it seems that blue eyed babies are in fact in the minority, not the majority.
Why is this?
*Science Alert!* Eye colour is determined by melanin, which is secreted by cells called melanocytes. Very little melanin = blue eyes, more melanin = brown eyes. As the womb is dark and melanocytes respond to light it means that for some babies they start life with blue eyes. But only for some. This is not true for all babies though, as some melanocytes don’t need light to produce melanin into the iris. Therefore brown eyes develop. Sometimes this is dependent on ethic origin but it is not always the case.
But whatever colour eyes your little one is born with, it might not be permanent. And it can take up to a year for eye colour to truly develop. Plus, there is also no way to tell when this will be.
Did you know that one person can have both eyes different colours?!
Can you predict eye colour?
In short, no. There is no way you can predict your baby’s eye colour 100% (no more that you can predict their sex). But looking back at ancestors will help. This really cool website called Predict Eyes is great and allows you to input data to give you a good grounding for an educated guess.
Whatever colour they are, eyes really are the window to the soul. It’s the one thing that really helps me connect to the portraits I take. Whether they are showing a cheeky side or a more serious one, you really can tell a lot by looking into a person’s eyes. And that’s true of all ages, newborns through to great-grandparents.
“The eyes are the windows to your soul,” wrote William Shakespeare. I couldn’t agree more.
So are all babies born with blue eyes? Most definitely not. But does that make a difference? Not at all. The world would be a dull place if we are started out and ended up the same, would it not? And all the changes which take place as your child grows and develops makes them who they are. A beautiful, unique individual.
Are all babies born with blue eyes, by Samphire Photography