Most people have brown, blue, or hazel eyes, but did you know there are other eye colors as well? Let’s take a closer look at the intriguing world of eye colors and discover what makes each shade unique.
The Science Behind Eye Color
- Eye color is determined by genetics and is influenced by the production of melanin, a pigment that gives color to our eyes.
- Contrary to popular belief, eye color is not solely determined by a single gene. It is actually an expression of multiple genes, with over 60 genes contributing to the final result.
- Even individuals with the same eye color, such as blue, can have subtle differences due to variations in these genes, making each person’s eye color as unique as their fingerprints.
The Most Common Eye Colors
- Brown eyes are the most common eye color worldwide, with more than half of the global population having brown eyes. Brown-eyed genes are generally dominant.
- Blue eyes are the second most common eye color, with approximately 17 percent of the world’s population having blue eyes. Blue-eyed genes are typically recessive.
- Hazel eyes, often compared to the color of hazelnuts, are different from brown eyes. They have their own distinct hues, blending elements of brown and green.
The Rarest Eye Colors
- While colors like green and hazel are often considered rare, they are not the rarest. True rare eye colors are the result of extremely uncommon genetic mutations.
- For instance, a mutation in the FOXC2 gene can lead to violet eyes, which are exceptionally rare.
- Another rare eye color, often described as pink or red, is seen in individuals with albinism. Albinism is characterized by a lack of melanin, resulting in pale skin, white or blonde hair, and eyes with a reddish or pinkish tint.
- Some individuals are born with or develop a condition called heterochromia, where each eye has a different color, most commonly brown and blue.
- Heterochromia can occur due to various factors, including genetics, injury, or certain eye health complications.
- While heterochromia may signal underlying health conditions in some cases, it is usually harmless and requires no treatment unless other complications are detected.
The Eye Color Spectrum
- Eye colors exist on a spectrum, with various shades within each color category.
- Each person’s eye color can be unique, with countless shades and intricacies determined by their genetic makeup.
Do Different Eye Colors Have Different Benefits?
- While some studies suggest mild health benefits and detriments associated with eye color, more research is needed to establish conclusive links.
- Darker irises, commonly found in brown eyes, may be associated with reduced risks of macular degeneration and melanoma.
- Lighter eyes, on the other hand, may have advantages like a lower chance of developing vitiligo, but they can also be linked to increased risks of alcohol abuse and greater light sensitivity, particularly in individuals with albinism.
Remember, the potential differences in health impacts between different eye colors are typically minimal. The survival of various eye colors throughout history is largely due to their limited impact on early humans’ survivability.
Embrace the Diversity
- Different eye colors have their own beauty and charm, adding to the diversity of human appearance.
- Eye color often plays a social role, with people finding different eye colors attractive or interesting.
- Appreciating the variety of eye colors contributes to the celebration of human diversity, as long as it doesn’t significantly impact one’s health.
Human Eye Color Chart
Here’s an estimated rate of occurrence for each eye color in the general population:
|Share in Population
|8% - 10%
|Green, Gray, Red/Pink, Violet
Eye color is influenced by genetic factors, so the specific distribution of eye colors may vary in different communities.
Embrace the wonder of eye colors, celebrate the diversity they bring, and appreciate the uniqueness of your own captivating gaze.
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- What Colour Are Your Eyes? Teaching the Genetics of Eye Colour & Colour Vision. Edridge Green Lecture Rcophth Annual Congress Glasgow. (May 2019). Nature.
- Is Eye Color Determined By Genetics? MedlinePlus.
- Your Eye Color, Explained. (February 2022). Discover 4 Things Your Eye Color Might Reveal About Your Health. (January 2020). The Healthy.
- Eye Color: Unique as a Fingerprint. (December 2017). American Academy of Ophthalmology.
- Rare Eye Colours You Didn’t Know About. (October 2021). Feel Good Contacts.
- This Is Exactly How Many People Have Blue Eyes. (December 2018). Yahoo.
- True Colors: A Literature Review on the Spatial Distribution of Eye and Hair Pigmentation. (March 2019). Forensic Science International: Genetics.
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