Have you ever considered the reasons behind eye color, or even how many other people in the world have the same eye color as you? At Maine Optometry, we spend all of our time thinking and learning about eyes, and we’re always excited to share information about them. Here’s five facts about eye color to bring to your next trivia night!
Two Types of Melanin Influence Eye Color
Just as melanin is responsible for the body’s skin and hair color, it is what determines eye color. The two types of melanin that are responsible for eye color are eumelanin and pheomelanin. More eumelanin in the iris means a browner eye, and more pheomelanin means a greener eye. What about blue? That’s actually created by the way light is dispersed in eyes that don’t have much eumelanin.
The Most Common Eye Color
…is brown, with over half of the world’s population being brown-eyed. On the other hand, the least common eye color is green – only 2% of humans have green eyes.
Some People Have Two Different Colored Eyes
This condition is called heterochromia and affects less than 1% of the world’s population. However, you may be familiar with some of the people who have it – Dan Akroyd and Jane Seymour are among the celebrities whose eyes are different colors. Not everyone with heterochromia has two completely different colored eyes; in some cases only part of one eye will be a different color.
A Common Ancestor for Blue Eyes
In 2008, a scientific study found that blue eyes are the result of one genetic mutation that occurred in Europe thousands of years ago. The commonalities that were discovered in the DNA of blue-eyed people led scientists to conclude that everyone with blue eyes can trace their ancestry back to one person who lived many millennia ago.
Darker Eyes? You May Have a Higher Risk for Cataracts
Though it’s not entirely clear why it’s the case, people with brown or darker colored eyes are more likely to develop cataracts. Blue-eyed and lighter-eyed people have their own health connections to be aware of, too, though – if you have lighter eyes, you have a higher skin cancer risk. In both cases, the amount of melanin in the body is likely related to these health issues.
We’re Your Eye Experts
The team at Maine Optometry is here to provide you with the care and attention your eyes deserve. Reach out any time to speak with our staff or set up an appointment at (207) 729-8474.