Color change of the iris: causes, prevention and when to see a doctor (2023)

The iris is the part of your eye that displays color, and color is determined by genetics. It is also responsible for controlling the size of the pupil and the amount of light that reaches the retina.

The iris typically darkens during the first few years of life. Of course, it can also change with age. Sometimes the color of the iris changes more and this needs to be discussed with your doctor.

The iris contains pigments that determine your eye color. Babies' eyes are usually born with light blue or gray eyes. The color darkens with age. By the age of three, your eye color is permanent and doesn't usually change. Your genetics determine the color of your eyes in the first few years of life. The amount of light the eyes are exposed to also affects this, but not as much as genetics.

Causes of iris color change

Once your eye color is fully developed, it usually doesn't change. There areseveral factors that can temporarily change the pigments in the iris. Although it may seem strange, these iris color changes are not a cause for concern.

Increased sun exposure:Sunlight increases melanin production. Even if your eye color is already set, the extra light can make your eye color appear darker. In addition, sunlight is stronger than artificial light. This can bring out colors in your eyes that you may not have noticed before.

Emotions:Your iris can change color as your emotions change. Happiness, sadness, anger and other emotions all change hormones in the body. These changes cause the pupil size to change as well as the color of the iris. Happiness and anger can make your eye color more vibrant, while sadness can make your eye color lighter.

Dilation of the pupils:Your pupils change size throughout the day as the light intensity around you changes. As your pupils dilate or contract, the color of the iris around you may look different. Dilated pupils cover more of the iris, so the color can appear darker. Smaller pupils leave much of the iris uncovered, and the contrast of the black can make the color appear lighter.

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Conditions associated with iris color change

There are several conditions that can cause significant changes in iris color. Some of these conditions require treatment to prevent serious eye damage.

Color change of the iris: causes, prevention and when to see a doctor (1)


Cataracts are lens opacities that make the pupil appear gray. They often appear in old age and can significantly impair vision. TheClouding of the lens can also change the color of the iris. Studies have also found that the darker your iris color, the greater your risk of cataracts.


Uveitis is inflammation of the middle layer of the eyeball. It is caused by an infection, exposure to toxins, or trauma to the eye. The inflammation causes the covering of the eye (conjunctiva) to appear red instead of white. The iris can also stick to the lens, causing it to change color.

Uveitis requires immediate medical attention. If you notice a change in iris color along with eye pain, sensitivity to light, and blurred vision, contact your doctor right away.


Also known as pigment loss, this condition causes the pigment to be lost from the surface of the iris. The pigments float to other parts of the eye. These can pool and clog the eye's drainage and increase eye pressure.

Pigment dispersal syndrome is a common cause of myopia and can lead to pigmentary glaucoma. Changing the color of the iris is a common symptom of this condition and means the person needs to be monitored closely.


A type of glaucoma calledIn pigmentary glaucoma, the color of the iris changes. The pigment on the back of the iris is destroyed and the loose grains of pigment collect on the back of the cornea.

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Loose pigment can also accumulate at the front of the iris and change eye color. Medications prescribed to treat glaucoma can also cause changes in the color of the iris. Without treatment, glaucoma can lead to blindness.

Color change of the iris: causes, prevention and when to see a doctor (2)

Horner Syndrome

This condition involves a complication with the third cranial nerve that can affect iris color. This can be caused by a lesion along the sympathetic pathways to the head and neck.

Strokes, spinal cord injuries or tumors damage nerve function in the head and neck area. As a result, the pupils may have different sizes, and the color of the iris may change. Typically, the affected eye is lighter in color.

Iris color changing treatment

Because most cases of changing iris color are natural and temporary, treatment is not applicable. If the cause is an underlying medical condition, treatment will depend on the cause.

♦ Treatment of pigmentary glaucoma involves lowering the pressure in the eye. Drugs, laser therapy and surgery can be used for this.Treatment decreases the fluid in the eye, which reduces pressure.

♦ Treatment for uveitis involves medication to clear the infection and reduce inflammation.

♦ Cataract treatment involves surgery to replace the cloudy lens with a clear, artificial lens.

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♦ Treatment of Horner's syndrome involves identifying the site of nerve damage. The syndrome itself is not curable, but once the underlying damage is repaired, iris color is restored.

Natural treatment for iris color change

Supporting eye health and making sure your eyes are getting the nutrients they need is the best way to prevent disease.

Infection, aging and disorders can cause the color of the iris to change. To reduce the risk of eye diseases and promote overall eye health, add natural ingredients to your health routine. The following products have proven to be the best in eye care.

Astaxanthin: This is an antioxidant known to be more powerful than vitamin E. Vitamin E has traditionally been known to promote eye health, and this compound is even better. Protect your eyes regularly against age-related deterioration and diseases such as macular degenerationAstaxanthin.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin:These two connections are often found together. Although separate carotenoids,LuteinAndZeaxanthinaccumulate naturally around the retina in the eye. They provide antioxidant protection and prevent the development of cataracts and other color changing conditions of the iris.

Mixed carotenes:This is a powerful and natural way to promote eye health. Thecombined properties in alpha and beta carotene, as well as lycopene, protect your eyesight. These ingredients are known to reduce the risk of cataracts and glaucoma, both of which can change iris color. A quality EVTene™ supplement is the best way to get all the carotenes you need.

How to prevent the color of the iris from changing

Preventing eye diseases and promoting eye health is the best way to protect all parts of the eye, including the iris. Proper diet and a healthy lifestyle can protect your eyes and promote eye health.

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Color change of the iris: causes, prevention and when to see a doctor (3)

There are numerous ways to minimize the risk of eye diseases that can lead to iris color changes or other problematic eye problems.

Eat well:AA balanced diet is essential for overall health, and that includes your eyes. Nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and vitamins C and E are perfect for protecting against eye diseases. Make sure you include fresh fish, leafy greens, fresh fruit, eggs and nuts to keep your eyes healthy.

Protect your eyes:The sun's UV light is one of the most harmful to the eyes. Too much direct exposure increases the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. Invest in sunglasses that are polarized or offer 99 to 100% UVA and UVB protection. Always wear them when you are outside.

Rest your eyes:Blue light can pass through the eye directly onto the retina. Retinal damage increases the risk of eye diseases that can lead to blindness. Prevent damage by taking breaks from your computer and tablet. Ideally, you should rest every twenty minutes and use an anti-glare screen if possible.

Live healthy:Regular exercise prevents high blood pressure, which can increase the risk of eye diseases. It is also important to quit smokingTobacco increases your risk of cataracts, damage to the optic nerve and macular degeneration.

When to see your doctor

The color of the iris can change naturally with emotional changes, dietary changes, and sun exposure. These changes are mostly temporary and nothing to worry about. Often times it just looks like your eye color has changed, but it's more of an optical illusion.

If you notice more permanent and significant changes in iris color, you should see your doctor. The change in iris color may be a symptom of an underlying condition that needs treatment.

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