Your eyes have color just like everyone else, but have you ever thought about what exactly gives your eyes their color? At one point or another, maybe you’ve wondered how many other people have eyes that are the same color as you?
Well, you’re in luck because Lens.com is here to answer those questions and more. In this post, we discuss the most important things you need to know about eye color, from which part of the eyes gives them their color right down to the different eye colors.
Eye color: the iris
The iris is the pigmented, ring-shaped part of the eye. The iris is what defines a person’s eye color and changes the size and diameter of the pupil (the black dot in the middle of the iris).
How eye color is determined
Your genetics determines your eye color.
Most of the genes involved in eye color produce, transport, and store melanin (a pigment that is also responsible for determining your skin color and hair color). Therefore, your eye color depends on both the quantity and quality of melanin in your iris. If you have brown eyes, your irises contain large amounts of melanin. Conversely, if you have blue eyes, your irises contain much less melanin.
There is a common misconception that people get their eye color from a mixture of their parents’ and grandparents’ eye colors. For example, many people believe that blue-eyed parents can only conceive blue-eyed offspring, but this isn’t the case. The genetics of eye color isn’t this simple. Blue-eyed parents can have brown-eyed children, and brown-eyed parents can have blue-eyed children.
Eye color: as unique as your fingerprint
No one in the world has the same eye color as you. Yes, you read that right. You may have brown, blue, or green eyes like your siblings or parents, but how those colors appear in your eyes is unique to you.
The reason your eye color is unique is due to the presence of melanin in your iris and its distribution. Even though you and your siblings may all have brown eyes, the exact quantity of melanin in your iris and how it’s distributed is unique to each person.
The different eye colors
There are six basic eye colors:
Brown is the most common eye color in the world. According to the World Atlas, approximately 80 percent of the worldwide population has brown eyes. The vast majority of brown-eyed people live in countries in Africa and Asia.
Only around eight to 10 percent of people worldwide have blue eyes, most of whom are of European descent. In the U.S., about 27 percent of the population has blue eyes. Meanwhile, approximately 50 percent of the population has blue eyes in the UK.
Hazel-colored eyes are a mixture of brown and green color. About 18 percent of Americans have hazel eyes. The global percentage is much smaller, though. Roughly five percent of the worldwide population has hazel eyes. Most people with hazel eyes live in North Africa, South America, and the Middle East.
Like the hazel-eyed population, only about five percent of people have amber eyes. People with amber eyes have eyes that appear light brown or almost gold. Asians, South Africans, South Americans, and Europeans of Spanish descent are the most likely to have amber eyes.
Gray is the second rarest eye color globally, with only three percent of the global population having gray eyes. People with gray eyes have irises with no melanin but high amounts of collagen in a part of the eye called the stroma. The lack of melanin combined with the high concentration of collagen in the stroma blocks out blue coloring, which causes the irises to become gray.
If you have green eyes, you belong to the population with the rarest eye color. Only two percent of people worldwide have green eyes, and in America, only nine percent of the population has green eyes. When you have green eyes, light bounces off the melanin in your iris, which creates an optical effect that makes your eyes appear green.
Hopefully, after reading this post, you not only learned more about eye colors but also gained a much better appreciation for your particular eye color. However, if you want to switch up your look, there’s nothing wrong with temporarily changing your eye color by wearing colored contact lenses. Lens.com has a fantastic selection of colored contact lenses just for you.