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6 Reasons Your Eyes Might Change Color

August 23, 2016 | By Camila Garcia
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It’s not an uncommon thing to have wondered before if your eyes are capable of changing color. At some point or another, we’ve all wanted to have different eyes just to see what they’d look like. And as crazy as it may sound, eyes can absolutely change color! How does this happen? Let’s start with the basics.

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First of all, the iris is a muscle in the eye that gives it its color. With light, the iris can either expand or contract in order to control pupil size. The pupil shrinks when exposed to bright light, whereas it grows in dimmer lighting. When the pupil changes size, the pigments in the iris either compress or spread apart, which causes a slight change in perceived eye color.

However, light is not the only reason why your eyes can change color. There are other factors than can make your eyes lighter or darker. 

  1. Age
    Babies are usually born with light blue or gray eyes, yet as they grow, their eyes often get darker. This is because eye color is determined by your genes and the melanin level on your body. As you grow up, the melanin level increases around your pupil, making the eye darker. However, 10-15% of Caucasian eyes change to a lighter color as they age, as pigment in the iris changes or degrades.

  2. Exposure to the sun
    Melanin production can be activated through solar exposure, meaning that a prolonged time exposure to the sun could make your eyes darker.

  3. Emotions
    Certain emotions can change the size of your pupil and the iris color. When you are happy, angry, or sad, your body releases a hormone that makes your pupil size change. When you’re happy or angry, your eyes usually become more vibrant, while when you cry, your eyes obtain a reddish color, making your eyes appear brighter.

  4. Clothing and makeup
    Darker clothes as well as some color makeup on your eyelids, or white eyeliner, are all things that can make your eyes look more vibrant and brighter. This is just a matter of perception, not reality, but your eyes will definitely pop a bit more than usual!

  5. Your diet
    They say you are what you eat, and for the  eyes this is entirely true! The type of diet you  keep will influence your eye color. Here are  some of the foods that change your eye color  if consumed often:

    Spinach: It’s richness in iron will make your eyes look younger and shine brighter!

    Organic honey: Regular consumption of honey could make your eye hue lighter and brighter.

    Fish: Consuming fish can increase your eye color strength and depending on the consumption, this changes could be permanent.

    Olive oil: Many people believe that adding olive oil to your diet could change the shade of your eyes.

    Onions: Regular intake of onion has shown gradual changes in eye and skin color.

    Nuts: Add different nuts to your diet and your eyes could gradually get a lighter color.
    *Note: Roasted nuts won’t affect your eyes since their nutrients (what might change your eye color) have already been destroyed by exposing them to high temperatures.

    Chamomile & Uva Ursi tea: eyes relax and pupil size changes, making the eye appear a different color (usually a warmer shade).

  6. Your health
    Your eye color can also change to a yellowish or greenish shade when you are unwell or if you have an eye disease such as:

    Horner’s Syndrome: A complication with the third cranial nerve. This disease could make the affected eye(s) change to a lighter color.

    Fuch’s Heterochromic Uveitis: A chronic mild inflammation of the front section of the eye.

    Pigmentary Glaucoma: In this type of glaucoma, the pigment on the back of the iris is disrupted and the loose pigment granules collect on the back of the cornea. This loose pigment could also collect on the front of the iris, changing the color. Medication for glaucoma could also affect the color of the eyes.


There are many reasons why your eyes may at least appear to change color. In certain cases, like eye disease and changes in your diet, your eye color may truly change. However, many times it is only a matter of perspective and elements that can reflect into your eyes, tricking the mind of those looking at you into thinking your eyes just changed into a different shade. The best thing to do when your eyes start changing color is to get an eye exam.   2020 On-site's mobile eye clinics offer a compelling option for businesses looking to offer a unique corporate perk.   Other options for eye exams include finding a local optometrist, or visiting Costco Optical if you hold a membership there.



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  • Dubow, Burt. "Eye Color." All About Vision. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Aug. 2016.
  • Margolis, Nina. "Why Do Eyes Change Color?" Why Do Eyes Change Color?N.p., 2011. Web. 15 Aug. 2016.
  • Smith, Mary. "How to Produce Melanin in Your Body." Onehowto.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Aug. 2016.
  • "Why Do Eyes Change Color – With Mood, Age, Emotion, Seasons Over Time." Skintots. N.p., 23 Apr. 2015. Web. 15 Aug. 2016.
  • O'Connor, Anahad. "The Claim: Eye Color Can Be Affected by the Color of Clothing." The New York Times. N.p., 20 Dec. 2005. Web. 12 Aug. 2016.

  • 10 Healthy Foods And Drinks That Can Change Your Eye Color." Fun Times News. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Aug. 2016.
  • Brooks, Dominique. "Causes of an Eye Color Change." LIVESTRONG.COM. LIVESTRONG.COM, 26 Apr. 2015. Web. 12 Aug. 2016.


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