This is obviously just rolling out on the newly produced dolls, because almost all of the display dolls at American Girl Place in Columbus (as of May 9, 2018) had the old eyes. Except, that is, for the brand new dolls like Luciana, and the four Truly Me boy dolls. Here are some pictures to compare the eyes.
Point #1: The whites of the eye on the new eyes are bright white. Notice Luciana's eyes in the photo above and how white they look. Then, look at Gabriella's eyes in the photo, and you can see that they are a more realistic and muted shade. This problem is very noticeable on all the dolls, but more particularly on the darker skin tones. The eyes look like they are almost glowing and shining out from the face. This is caused by the fact that the white area of the eye is actually above the level of the iris and pupil. Unlike the old eyes, where the whites, the iris and the pupil are inside a clear plastic ball, the whites on the new eyes are the top layer. You can even feel a ridge with your fingernail on the new eyes, between the whites and the iris.
Point #2: The new eyes appear to be sitting slightly farther back in the head, which means that you can see in the sides of the eye. On further examination, though, we're wondering if it is not necessarily that the eyes are sitting farther back, but more that the new eyes don't fit in the eye sockets as well as the old ones. This is slightly visible in the photo of Luciana below (though it's hard to see in a photo).
Point #4: When you lay the doll's back to close their eyes, you see how thin the eyelashes are. And the eyes do not close down all the way. You still see white showing below the eyelashes.
Point #6: The pinwheel in the color of the eye is now a decal, instead of the quality molded design of previous years. This is a big deal breaker for a lot of people and something that can be no more than deliberate effort to cheapen the eyes.
More dolls that are quite noticeable with this problem are Melody and Nanea. Melody definitely has new eyes coming in on some of the dolls but not all of them yet. Nanea looks like she is in between. She almost has transitional eyes. Her whites are brighter than they should be, but the eyes seem to fit in the sockets of her head better (being a different face mold, she may just accommodate them a little better) --- though you can still see them sitting back a wee bit. When picking out my Nanea doll on Sunday, we looked through a lot of the boxed dolls, and there seemed to be variance in all of them. If you are considering her, then I would try to purchase her as soon as possible.
The Truly Me boy dolls all feature the new eyes and have this problem. The eyes fit better in #77 (the modified Addy mold), and he tended to look good almost all the time. #76 (modified Sonali mold) has a real problem, and we had trouble finding any that did not look a bit strange.
In fact, almost all of the boxed dolls at the Columbus store are the new eyes. I couldn't find a Beforver doll without them, unless it was one of the older displays. So, if you buy a doll, be sure to check the eyes. The easiest test is to lay it down and see if the eyes close all the way and the lashes are wider than the iris, but it's not fool proof. You'll know when you look at them, because the white is TOO white!
This picture below shows another comparison of Nanea and Kaya. You can see Nanea's new eyes, but they don't have bad lashes, which makes a difference. The thinner lashes look very strange.
The photos below show dolls in boxes and on display at the Columbus store in June. They all feature new eyes, and this will show just how white and odd the new eyes look. They also seem to have trouble with both eyes facing the same direction.