Causes of Eye Color Change in the Elderly

As we age, there are occasions in which our eye color changes.  A change in eye color occurs in up to 15 % of all Caucasian people.  An eye color change can be harmless, but there are some conditions that will cause the Iris to change color that should be evaluated by a doctor.  The iris is the pigmented portion of an eye that gives it the color and is usually established by 9 months of age.  Some reasons for the change in that color include:

  1. Sun exposure– The melanin in the eye can also be influenced through the sun’s rays. Just as in your skin changing with the sun, eyes become darker, or even develop freckles
  2. Genetics– The amount of melanin in the iris will decrease over time, just as hair color changes as we age, and can vary due to genetic determination.
  3. Eye Trauma- There are conditions that cause the color of each eye to be completely different, but it usually occurs later in life as the result of trauma to the eye such as an injury, surgery, extreme swelling.
  4. Disease- Note blotches or spots, lightened portions of or depigmentation of the iris. Some can lead to glaucoma, or be indications of more serious medical problems.
  5. Glaucoma medications called prostaglandins can cause the eye color changes to be a darker.
Debbie joins FOX Rochester for her weekly segment.