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Why Do We Have Different Eye Colors?

Have you ever looked at your parents and your siblings and asked the question, why do you have different color eyes? If you have, you are not alone. Millions of people each year search Google looking for an explanation as to why their eye color doesn’t match that of their family. We will delve into the answer in this blog so keep your eyes peeled (bad pun intended) for the answer.

What Determines Eye Color?

Melanin, is the name of the compound that is responsible for determining eye color. But melanin is much more important than just being a color selector, it is melanin that helps to protect the eye from light absorption (including some UV light) into the iris as well as controlling light absorption to the retina.

How Does Eye Color Get Passed To Children?

A child can have almost any eye color, even if it doesn’t match the eye color of the child’s two biological parents. Scientists currently believe that eye color is determined by the combination of six genes. The exact combination of the genes passed from the parents determines the melanin development and eye color development from foetus to child.

Why Do A Lot Of Babies Start With Blue Eyes?

Babies are sometimes born with blue or grey eyes; and over a period of time the infants eye color can change to become hazel or even brown. This is because it can take time for the cells in the eyes to develop the melanin needed to create and define a permanent eye color. In some cases it can take several hours of exposure to light for the cells to trigger the melanin development to form the infants true eye color.

What Eye Colors Are Rarest?

Anyone living in traditionally English speaking countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, is likely to believe that there is a roughly equal blend of blue, hazel and brown eyed people. However if you take a full world view the ratios of eye colors across people is very different.

The most common eye color is brown. Brown eyes account for between 70% and 79% of the population, with blue eyes accounting for between 8% and 10%, with hazel and gray eyes accounting for 5% and 3% respectively.

The rarest single eye color is red or violet which accounts for a little less than 1% of the population; however those with Heterochromia (the condition whereby people have two partly or completely different eye colors) truly represent the rarest eye color.

Does Eye Color Affect Eyesight?

Strictly speaking, your eye color doesn’t affect your eyesight in that you can be born and develop to have the same macular vision problems regardless of whether you have dark eye colors or light eye colors. 

However, the color of your eyes can impact your sensitivity to light and over time, without good and consistent protection, those with lighter eye colors may experience a weakened level of eyesight. This is because you have less pigment and less melanin in your irises when you have blue and grey colors, which reduces the natural protection for your eyes.

You should always protect your eyes from UV rays by wearing glasses that have UV400 Lenses, and get your eyes checked by an ophthalmologist regularly to help to preserve your eyes for the long time.
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