GREEN EYES ARE UNUSUAL IN PEOPLE
Green eyes are beautiful to look at. They are also extremely unique and very rare! It has been estimated that only 2% of the world’s population have true green eyes. To give you an idea of just how special green eyes are, consider this factoid. Currently, it is estimated that around 7 billion people live on the planet.
Going by the math, this means only 140 million people have some shade of green as an eye color. There are only a handful of celebrities who have green eyes and even a smaller number who are male.
If you are one of these people – consider yourself lucky.
FYI: green eyes can express in several shades, including hazel, emerald, jade and blue-green. In super rare cases, they can even appear amber. When you take into account the different variations of this color, including some people with hues of brown, the number of people who can be classified as having green eyes jumps from 2% to 8%.
GREEN EYES: A PRIMER
This article will explore everything you ever wanted to know about green eyes. We will examine how you got your eye color, assess how eye color can be changed and identify a number of famous male celebrities with green eyes.
We will also check out some green eyed myths! Other information about various shades of green eye color will be touched upon, including popular hues.
Are you ready? Let’s jump right in!
WHAT IS THE SCIENCE OF GREEN EYES?
Many people want to know where green eyes come from. Ultimately, eye color is a function of genetics and is determined by two factors: (1) the pigmentation of the iris and (2) the way light scatters around the iris itself. Let’s take a quick look at both.
Pigmentation of a person’s iris can run the gamut from the darkest color, black to lightest, blue. Largely influencing pigmentation is something called melanin, a complex polymer made from the amino acid tyrosine.
The appearance of green and shades of green (i.e. jade, hazel eyes and emerald) are the result of a phenomenon known as Rayleigh scattering; which is a 25 cent term used to describe the way light scatters after riding its spectrum wavelength.
Most people mistakenly believe that colors like green and blue are in the iris – but they’re not. Your eye color is a function of how light diffuses across the melanin base, which again is genetically determined.
GREEN EYES: ORIGINS AND GENES
Prior to 2008, scientists thought eye color was determined by one dominant gene. It was postulated that an eye color hierarchy existed with brown being at the top of the ladder and blue resting at the bottom.
Under the old way of thinking, this meant if your dad had brown eyes and your mom had blue eyes, you would likely be born with brown colored eyes. A parental combination of two green eyes would translate into you having green eyes. Recessive genes were also thought to partially influence eye color.
New research, presented in a 2008 publication of the American Journal of Human Genetics washed the old way of thinking about eyes and color. The new research suggests that as many as 16 genes may influence the way color is expressed in the iris.
The unscientific translation means that a baby can be born with just about any eye color, regardless of what their parents have. It is important to note, however, that hereditary variables need to be factored into the equation.
The video below offers an excellent scientific analysis of how people get different color eyes, including green, blue, brown, hazel and some rare variations.
GENETIC PREVALENCE OF GREEN EYES
Interestingly enough, there are anthropological records of early humans with green eyes living around the mountain system in Eurasia between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. This area contained a natural land bridge between Europe and Asia.
Knowns as the “Silk Route” or “Silk Roads”; this ancient passageway was used by early civilizations for the lucrative trade silk, sometimes between 120 BCE – 1450s CE (Yao, et all, 2000).
WHERE DO GREEN EYES COME FROM?
We know from history that Silk Road played an important role in the creation of the civilizations of China, the Goguryeo kingdom in Korea, much of Japan, the Indian subcontinent, parts of Persia and the Horn of Africa and Arabia.
Because it served as a significant trade route for many early traders, it is thought that mating between various groups may have been part of gene distribution.
This may help to explain why green eyes can be found in various groups across Europe, Africa and Asia.
GENETIC ANTHROPOLOGY AND EYE COLOR
Genetic anthropology is growing branch of science that examines DNA testing with concrete archaeological, historical and language-based evidence to uncover the history of ancient migration patterns in early human civilizations.
Thanks to this emerging area of research, scientists are learning more and more about the etiology of eye color. This is why today, you can have your DNA tested to determine your genetic background. In turn, this may help to explain the genetic reasons for your ocular hue.
GREEN EYES AND GEOLOGIC TIME
Much of Europe, Asia and Africa and large swaths of the middle east have been native lands to people with green eyes for centuries. When studying the geologic time scale; a tool used to measure our planets history, it is thought that green eyes may have appeared in people of Iranian, Spanish, Brazilian and Pakistani decent sometime during the late part of the Cenozoic period.
Specifically, this would be between the Pleistocene and Holocene epochs some 2 to 3 million years ago.
Any race, including people who are Caucasian, Asian, African, Native Indian, Pacific Islander, Hispanic and pre-Colombians (Indigenous Peoples of the Americas) can have green colored eyes. Anthropologists believe eye color, like hazel, blue, brown and green, are the direct result of migratory behaviors.
Because of inter-mixing of groups, coupled with thousands of genetic mutations, we see various shades of green throughout modern man.
Science of Green EyesMelanin content in eye color of people with green, amber, hazel, brown, blue, violet and gray and black eyes
|Eye Color||Melanin Amount: Front Layer of Iris||Melanin Amount: Back Layer of Iris||Dominant Pigmentation|
|Hazel||Medium: Less than green. More than brown||Normal||Eumelanin and Pheomelanin|
|Green||Closer to blue; less than brown||Normal||Pheomelanin|
|Grey||Less than green and hazel||Normal||Eumelanin mix|
|Violet/Purple||Small to none||Small to little||Unknown|
|Amber||Less than brown||Light||Eumelanin and Pheomelanin|
CAN YOUR EYES CHANGE COLOR?
Many people are curious if eye color can change. The answer is – absolutely! People with green, blue or brown eyes all experience change in color from time to time. Causes for eye color changes include:
- The way light scatters
- Health/Medical reasons
HOW EYE COLOR CAN CHANGE DUE TO HEALTH
The color of your iris can permanently change if you have glaucoma and take certain medications for treatment. If you have light colored eyes and want to keep them, you need to be extremely careful with the glaucoma medications you take. Make sure you consult with your eye doctor to discover all of the facts.
Other reasons eye color can change to certain types of diseases. Examples include Horner’s syndrome and Fuch’s heterochromic iridocyclitis. Should you notice any changes in the color of your eyes, contact your doctor immediately.
GREEN EYES AND HEALTH RISKS
If you have green eyes, you are more susceptible to the sun’s harmful radiation. This has to do with our old friend melanin previously mentioned. Simply put, green eyed people can develop certain types of ocular cancers, like intraocular melanoma. People with light colored eyes should wear UV protective sunglasses when outdoors.
PHENOMENON OF RAYLEIGH SCATTERING
As mentioned previously, green eyes, blue eyes and brown eyes do not actually have these colors deposited into the iris. In truth, your eye pigmentation has a little brown in them. Because of the phenomenon of Rayleigh scattering, your eyes will reflect back a certain colored hue.
HOW LIGHT CHANGES EYE COLOR
Using the prior mentioned scientific principle of Rayleigh scattering, transformation of light particles that land on the iris will impact its coloristic appearance. This can result in a person having hazel, amber, jade, emerald, blue and even gray!
Other factors can influence the shade of green in eyes.
- Lighting: Artificial lighting (aka: light bulbs) can impact how eye color is experienced. The intensity of the light hitting your iris will either amplify or soften your iris’s appearance.
- Time of day: Light from the sun may be more intense earlier in the day or later, which means your iris will “pick-up” different intensities from the solar spectrum.
- Reflective colors: The color of everything around you, including the cloths you have on, can intensify how eye color is experienced. Certain colors, like gold, blue and other greens can amplify the flecks reflecting outward from your Iris.
- Makeup: Some people wear eye-makeup, like gold and purple eye-shadow, to accentuate the natural green of the iris. This can cause the desired effect of having chameleon eyes. Gorgeous makeup makes a line of eye shadow specifically designed for people with green eye color.
- Allergies: Some people with allergies have “scratchy eyes” which can cause the surrounding “whites” of the eyes to become red (aka: bloodshot eyes). This can have the effect of amplifying your eye color and creating baggy eyes.Most people do not desire this look.
- Emotional state: While your emotional state does not directly change the color of your eyes, what you are feeling at any given point in time can impact how they are perceived. Specifically, if you are depressed and crying, your pupil may dilate, which may give off a darker appearance.
- Substances: Use of alcohol, uppers, downers and other kinds of medications can cause your pupils to become larger or smaller. The end result can mean your eye color becomes more intense.
Some people have a condition called heterochromia that causes one eye to be one color (like green) and the other eye to be a different color (like blue). While multiple causes have been suggested, the current scientific thinking suggests that a lack of genetic diversity is the main reason for heterochromia.
It is thought that the condition is caused by a mutation of the genes determining melanin distribution, which often becomes changed due to chromosomal homogeneity. The photograph above of actor Josh Henderson is an example of someone with heterochromia. Notice one of his eyes are green. The other is blue. Very rare and unique.
NOTE OF CAUTION
If your eye color changes suddenly or if you notice your pupils remain dilated for no apparent reason for an extended period of time, contact your physician immediately. Your eyes are not something you want to play with.
What Do Your Eyes Say About You Video
MALE CELEBRITIES WITH GREEN EYES
There are many celebrities with green eyes – so many that it is not possible to list them all here. Bear in mind that different people have different hues of green. How they are expressed and perceived by others in large part depends on the factor previously mentioned. Listed below are a number of male celebrities with green eyes.
- Jesse Metcalfe
- Channing Tatum
- Jude Law
- Casey Affleck
- David Beckham
- Drew Fuller
- Harrison Ford
- Jack Nicholson
- Jon Hamm
- Matt Dallas
- Oliver Martinez
- Paul Rudd
- Robbie Williams
- Tom Cruise
- Tom Welling
- Willie Aames
- Vincent Perez
- Van Johnson
MYTHS ABOUT GREEN EYES
Green eyes are indeed rare and therefore desired by many. Because of this, it makes sense that a number of myths exist about people with green eyes. What follows are a few of the “biggies”.
Keep in mind there are many more than the ones listed here!
- Green eyed people are more attractive.
- Green eyed people possess supernatural powers.
- Green eyed people have more intense relationships.
- Green eyed people are better in bed.
- Green eyed people live healthier life styles
- Green eyed people are more connected to the earth
- Green eyed people live longer
PERSONALITY TRAITS OF GREEN EYED PEOPLE
Do people with green eyes have specific personality traits? Many people wonder about this question. The truth is, we don’t really know. But if you were to ask a person with this shade of color, they’re like to say:
- Green eyed people are outgoing
- People with green eyes are extroverted
- Men with green eyes are natural born inventors
- Women with green are are empathic
- Green eyes are a sign of inner strength
- Individuals with shades of green are intuitive
- Loyalty is a strong green eyes trait
- Some people with green eyes are highly jealous
- Passion is a natural trait among green eyes people
- The greener the eyes, the fitter the person
- Men with light green eyes are naturally funny
- Women with dark green eyes are naturally charming
GREEN EYE POLL
This poll is designed to find out what you think about eye color. It is not scientific and therefore should be used for entertainment purposes only.
Still, the results may give you a clue about what others think about eye color – including the color of your eyes! Your self-esteem should not be tied to your eye color – keep this in mind when you take the poll.
DID GREEN EYES COME FROM ALIENS?
The color of your eyes is unique. No two people have exactly the same eye color, unless they are identical twins. When we examine the origins of eye color, we can see their evolution changed over the course of time. It has been postulated that adaptations in eye color occurred as a result of a changing environment.
Some people believe green eyes and blue eyes are the result of an alien species depositing their DNA into the human genome. But if you look at other species on our planet, you will see eye colors come in rainbow, including oranges, reds and yellows.
Did these differing ocular colors come from aliens as well?
FINAL THOUGHTS ON GREEN EYES
We are still learning a great deal about eye color with new research happening every day. There have also been advancements changing eye color of the iris through medical procedures.
And of course, you can always buy colored contacts to make your eyes blue green, hazel or brown! I hope you found this post helpful.
If you happen to be lucky enough to be one of the few with green eyes, I’ve posted some information below from Amazon with some great choices for your eye color.
Sturm, R. A., Duffy, D. L., Zhao, Z. Z., Leite, F. P., Stark, M. S., Hayward, N., . . . Montgomery, G. W. (2008). A Single SNP in an Evolutionary Conserved Region within Intron 86 of the HERC2 Gene Determines Human Blue-Brown Eye Color. The American Journal of Human Genetics, 82(2), 424-431. doi:10.1016/j.ajhg.2007.11.005
Yao, Yong-Gang et al. “Gene Admixture In The Silk Road Region Of China: Evidence From Mtdna And Melanocortin 1 Receptor Polymorphism.”. Genes & Genetic Systems 75.4 (2000): 173-178. Web.
Zimmerman, A. Cenozoic Era: Facts About Climate, Animals & Plants. Live Science (2016). Web.