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What’s Behind Your Eye Color ?

April 1, 2011

The main reason for difference in the eye colors of individuals is the melanin content within the iris stroma.

There are several eye colors that occur naturally within the human race; blue, brown, amber, hazel, green, and grey. Each of these occurs for different biological and genetic reasons which are individual to each person. This is why it’s possible for a family to have 2 or more different eye colors represented within the immediate family.  Let’s a take a look into eye color and why it is prevalent in certain sectors of society.

Blue Eyes

Blue Eyes are a very common eye color and are predominately found in Northern Europe, but not so much in the southern countries of Europe. The Baltic Sea region as well as southern central Asia including Pakistan and Afghanistan, have exceptionally high levels of blue eyed individuals.

In 2008 research revealed that people with blue eyes have a single common ancestor. This is because originally all humans had brown eyes but at some point there was a mutation in the gene pool and the first child was born with blue eyes. This blue eyed baby is the ancestor of all blue eyed people worldwide

Brown Eyes

This is the dominant eye color amongst humans with many parts of the world having this as their only eye color. It is less commonly found in geographical regions where blue eyed people are present.

Over half of the world’s population has brown eyes.

Green Eyes

Green eyes were found in Siberia during the Bronze Age and there the heritage led to a gene mutation much like the origin of blue eyes. They are most common in northern and central Europe.

In Iceland, 89% per cent of women and 87% of men have either green or blue eyes.

Gray Eyes

The color gray is most common for eyes in northern and Eastern Europe as well as northern Africa. Under intense magnification grey eyes actually contain brown and yellow pigments within the iris.

Amber Eyes

Amber eyes are a solid color and are either a strong yellow color or a russet copper like tint. Amber eyes are more common within the animal kingdom than they are within humans where this color occurs less frequently.

Hazel Eyes

Hazel eyes are actually a mix of the same pigments that form brown and green eyes.  They appear to shift between shades and this is because of the way light scatters across them. These eyes are common throughout the world, but nowhere near as common as brown and blue.

Red eyes

You will only find red eyes on people who are albino. This may be because of the low levels of melanin in their iris allowing the blood vessels underneath to appear more prominent

Above are just some of the many statistics surrounding each eye color. It is mostly trivia unless you become a geneticist or optician, but nevertheless it’s still a great thing to know and it may help you win a bet on what your unborn child’s eye color will be!

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