Melanin is a protein. Like other proteins, the amount and type you get is coded in your genes. Irises containing a large amount of melanin appear black or brown. Less melanin produces green, gray, or light brown eyes. If your eyes contain very small amounts of melanin, they will appear blue or light gray. People with albinism have no melanin in their irises and their eyes may appear pink because the blood vessels in the back of their eyes reflect light.
Melanin production generally increases during the first year of a baby's life, leading to a deepening of eye color. The color is often stable by about 6 months of age. However, several factors can affect eye color, including use of certain medications and environmental factors. Some people experience changes in eye color over the course of their lives. People can have eyes of two colors. Even the genetics of eye color inheritance isn't as cut-and-dried as was once thought, as blue-eyed parents have been known (rarely) to have a brown-eyed child!