Green Eyes: Learn Why People Who Have Them Are So Unique!

green eyes channing tatum
Green Eyes of Channing Tatum

Green Eyes Are Unusual in Most 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 has 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.




Green Eyes: A Primier

This article will explore everything you ever wanted to know about green eyes. We will examine how you got your eye color, explore 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 of jade and emerald.

Are you ready? Let’s jump right in!

green eyes information
What is the science of Green Eyes?
male green eyes
Male Green Eyes

 

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 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.

Rayleigh Scattering Green Eyes
Credit: Wiki Commons

 

Green Eyes and Genes

Old theory

For many years, 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 theory

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.

Green eyes specifically have been part of the genetic sequencing of certain races for many years. If you are Middle Eastern, Spanish, Brazilian or North African decent, there is a higher likelihood of green eyes running in your family. It is important to mention here that any race can have green eyes. Still, the appearance of green eyes remains rare.

jesse metcalfe green eyes
Jesse Metcalfe Credit: MTV

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
  • Mood
  • Health/Medical reasons

Health reasons impacting changes in eye color  

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.

tom welling eyes
Tom Welling: Credit insoonia.com

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.

jensen ackles green eyes
Jensen Ackles: Credit Fanpop

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 hew.

jesse williams green eyes
Jesse Williams

 

Changes in light and 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. 
  • 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.
josh henderson blue eye green eye
Josh Henderson has a green eye and blue eye. Credit: Delta Magazine

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

    green eyes black male
    Credit: Wegret.com
  • 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”.

Green Eyes Latino
Green Eyes In Bed

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

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

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.

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About John D. Moore 85 Articles
Dr. John Moore is a counselor and educator. He writes about topics that usually connect in some way to physical, emotional and spiritual health. Moore helps men and women focus on challenges that may be blocking them from reaching their full potential.
  • Racheal S West

    I loved this, Brilliant you know because I have green eyes haha

  • Hadia

    I have green eyes…nd dey r prety but frm 2 3 mnths ma eyes are bcming darker and look like brown…many times ppl do not even believe me dat i have green eyes until u see in perfect lights and closer…i love ma eyes alot nd i dnt wanna lose it 🙁 plz help

    • ImaMe

      What?? Don’t type like you talk, meaning type to ENUNCIATE, which means CLEARLY, not like you have a mouth full of sh*t. You’ll go farther in life

      • Hadia

        U are sick dear ☺☺ and i dont understand a thing u said…#rudenessiverloaded bt Idc!!

    • -_-

      great, and a kid is talking here

    • david

      Take Preservision, product name. And learn to type in english please.

  • Garritt Taylor

    i have light green eyes, but people when standing farther away say i have like light blue eyes

  • AmericanDreamerRedux

    I have very bright colored green eyes as I am from a city on the Caspian Sea in northern Iran where it is the predominant eye color
    Apparently the ancient Scythians who were the ancestors of most Iranians (and the origin of the word “Aryan” which Hitler and the Nazis stained with their despicable racial prejudice) had bright green eyes and flaming red hair (they are related to the ancient Celts who spread across Europe and remain predominant in Ireland today)
    What is really amazing is the predominance of people with green or blue eyes and blonde or red hair in this one area of Iran..an even greater predominance of people with light features than in Scandinavia.

    • John Michael

      Thats interesting because I have blond hair and green eyes being the only one in my family. I am a male and have retained these colours all my life. Would these same Iranians be from the area where the ancient civilisation of Media once stood?

  • Curious Minds

    my eyes are green, yellow, brown and gray all in one, sometimes blue depending on what color I am wearing.

  • David Ellul

    2 percent of 7 billion is 140 million.

  • Lord azazel

    Funny I do have supernatural capabilities now you can all figure out if I am just joking but…..I’m not as a matter of fact its possible to affect anyone just using the mind or a method of interaction such as this site once mastered you can sit back from the comfort of your home and simply pull strings mentally you don’t have to try to affect anyone matter is their already doing it to themselfs for your entertainment depending on your beliefs for example you hate everyone no need to worry their mass murdering each other all over globe you conjured up the idea but someone somewhere actually does it fulfilling your original wishintent without you ever realizing it …anyways everyone happy trolling!!!!!

  • dannystjohn

    Clay Aiken also has green eyes

  • belaboa9

    I’m the only person in my entire family with green eyes so I always thought I was adopted. But I wasn’t. Really!

    • Christopher Poblete

      Same here, i feel like in the wrong place

      • belaboa9

        Are you the only one with green eyes too? At least I can fall back on the fact that I’m 3/4 Irish! All the boys in my family have blue eyes, and all the girls have brown or hazel. I feel like an oddball!

        • Christopher Poblete

          Yes, among my large family (grandma, uncles, cousins, etc) I am the only one with green eyes. Well, my bio dad has green eyes, but my mum is a single mother, so I barely know him. But it’s not just about the eye colour, it’s something more, like behaviour, it’s strange o:

          • belaboa9

            Are you the black sheep of the family? I am. I’m considered the “weird” one because I’m the smartest, most creative, adventurous, risk-taking and mystical one. I follow my own path no matter what anyone else says. And I have snakes! LOL And two rescue dogs.

          • Christopher Poblete

            Kinda, well, i do not consider myself that smart, but i tell you that my family doesn’t even get jokes from the simpsons 😐

          • belaboa9

            Bummer. So how is your behaviour different from the rest of your family’s?

          • Alejandro Ontiveroz

            I have green eyes too and so does my sister. I guess it is because my dad has vary light blue eyes and my mom has semi dark brown eyes. I only know 3 people with green eyes. But i don’t think im very attractive. Im a male and i have girl like features. And i have long hair.

          • belaboa9

            Yeah, but how old are you? Most guys aren’t their handsomest until they’re 35-40 years old!

        • Connie George

          EVERYONE has blue eyes! No other colors at all just Blue! Even Aunts an Cousins sea of blue eyes!

          • belaboa9

            Like I said to someone else, it must be a really recessive gene that decided to resurface, unless we are adopted, or our daddies aren’t really our daddies! OMG!

    • Connie George

      I also am the only green eye person in my family. Both parents, and all siblings have blue eyes. Also, all blood relations on both sides have blue eyes. Not one brown eye, and I’m the one green eye. It’s always bothered me!

      • belaboa9

        Me, too! I’ve always wondered how many generations back in my family I would have to go, to find another green-eyed person. It’s got to come from the Irish side, or maybe there’s a little bit of gypsy on the Italian side! In any case, I’ll never know!

        • Connie George

          In Nursing School I was told eye color only comes from parents. I’ve wondered about my paternity every since. I am the odd ball! Not just eye color either. To chicken to ask. Lol My mother said IT WAS THE EVIL COMING OUT IN ME when I mentioned it once! Don’t know if that was joke, but I never mentioned it again

          • belaboa9

            LOL! I learned the same thing in Nursing School! That’s why I always thought I was adopted. But I wasn’t. I’ve got my birth certificate, and all my baby pictures are in the family albums! It must be a really recessive gene which has resurfaced! 😉 Lucky for us!

  • Shannon Mullis-Long

    Myself and three cousins have green eyes. My mother has brown my father blue. Mine are constantly changing from blue green to emerald green to grey. No two days are the same and sometimes changing twice or three times a day.

  • Luke

    I have green eyes and have been told more than once that my eyes look good.

  • Fred E Rick

    I have green eyes. I can see through your soul.

    • Rinny

      Me too. I have that piercing through your soul quality. 🙂

  • Kimberly Parrish

    Jense Ackles I could stare into those green eyes all day they are so beautiful.

  • Anna

    I have green eyes, but the guy that you have as “Latino” is actually half black and his name is Damon…

    • You are right! Thanks for letting me know👍 I’ll correct

  • Dinara

    Interesting article. I have green eyes. Actually one green, the other one is slightly brown. Not so noticeable fortunately 😀

  • Glen

    I had blue eyes as a child, which was odd at the time as both my mother and father has brown, (I also had blonde hair as a child but now it is dark brown)
    I’m 35 now and my eye’s are now a deep shade of green and have been since a young age, I am the youngest of 4 and the only other person in my immediate family with green eyes is my eldest brother.
    I wasn’t aware green eyes were considered rare.

  • John Michael

    I am a male and have blond hair and 1 green lighter eye and 1 green darker eye. I wonder what the percentages for this is? I am also the only one in my family with it and I thought I was adopted. So I did check with the hospital and I’m legit. Lol. Use to feel a bit freakish because there a so few of us. Now I know I’m blessed!

  • KateM

    I have very light yellow green eyes with blue around the rim. How does that factor into the green eyed equation? I know that it does come from the Italian side og my family, with only one member of each genation having this particular eye coloe.

  • KateM

    Oh, and I not only have a very unusual eye color (only one in my family) but am lefy-handed as well (again the only one in my family). I probably would have been burned at the stake in Salem as a witch. Ha!

  • Pavel Sivi

    all my famly has different kinds of green eyes. but mine are strange they sometimes seem to be blue and sometimes green. depends on the light. but as far as i see they are green

  • Karen Denning

    What is it about green eyes that catches people’s attention? It makes me feel uneasy when I notice someone staring at my eyes. From my perspective I seem to be hyper sensitive to light compared to most people. I squint a lot which gives others the impression that I’m mad or something. LOL

    • Eric Weeber

      i know the feeling with that one..mine are light to mid green and i have always squinted alot due to light.

    • Le Panayi

      I think in my life about 2 people have commented on my eye colour! But agree about the light although mine are darker than a lot of blue-eyed folk, I think.. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5f684a4b7e1174fe4f3923947702156e9b71123bc1fb2577d471e9b9b7a1d0a3.jpg

    • Rebecca A

      I very light sensitive eyes. It feels natural to wear sunglasses constantly. I have prescription medications to try to help ease the pain and discomfort

    • Lillian Carbone

      I have green eyes and brown hair but my eyes also have a yellow hue to them and I have a small brown speck in one of my eyes ,I’ve been told that I have Lizzie’s eyes lol

  • Anne Lunar

    This definitely makes us non-green eyed people feel not so special haha

    • Carla

      What makes green eyes “beautiful” is their rareness not their colour! Every eye has it’s own and special shade that makes them beautiful in its way! Yours sure are too! 😀

      • Nicole Lovelace

        That’s not true, green is a beautiful color. Even if they weren’t rare, they would still be a popular eye color.

        • Carla

          Indeed, but I’m not talking about preference but about rareness. Think about it… If 90% of the population had green eyes and only 10% had, for example, brown eyes, which color would be more desired… green or brown? I honestly think that it’s more a matter of exclusiveness than color. And please don’t think that I’m saying this beacause I don’t love my eye color or something. I actually do have green eyes, I just don’t like when people compare themselves with others, just because they don’t have what those people do have and don’t feel special because of it. If that even makes sense… :S xD (Sorry if I’m a little off with my writing skills, not my mother tongue xD, And sorry too for that unnecessary large reply xD)

  • Michele Kasel

    i have green eyes and if i wear violet-blue contact lenses they look cool! i also have brown contacts–i guess i get sorta bored with the same color eyes for 50 years LOL

  • Gabbyy Fratt

    I have green eyes but if u look close they have a little bit of light brown in the middle then blue all around the rest but farther away they r bright green it’s rlly weird

    • Carla

      This only means that you have some shade of hazel eyes. Half brown, half green, and sometimes some blue too!

  • hunter

    i have green eyes and my parent have them to and my brother and sister and all my other family members have them to

    • Ann

      Same with me, except I don’t know about extended family.

  • Tyler Karl Lia

    Would have like the article, but the mixed race bastards who have my eyes ruined it.

  • Frank E Richardson

    I got my green eyrs from my father, and they ate popular on that dide of my family, i thought it was an Irish trait

  • Frank E Richardson

    I got my green eyes from my father and they are popular on that side of my family, i thought it was an Irish trait

    • Connie George

      Very rare eye color always new that, but was surprised how rare! Pretty sure in the case of eyes it only Parents not like Hair color or skin! Not sure why!

  • Deborah Wilbourn

    I’m the middle child of 5 children both father and mother have brown eyes older brother blue eyes older sister younger sister and younger brother all have brown eyes. As far back as I can trace in family history mostly blue eyes and brown eyes going back to my great grandparents none with green eyes can be found. I do have one daughter with green eyes the other with blue, their dad has blue eyes. This article I read has a lot of information that is true for me and the trait of having green eyes, however I do believe there is much more information missing due to my age and experience.

  • Stephanie

    There goes my Mendel Pundit square argument
    Big B little b times Big B little b gets 2 Brown eyes BB 50!per cent blue eyes Little b little b
    All that is down the tubes

    • Stephanie

      My father brown eyes
      My mother blue
      2 dark eyed sister 2 blue eyed( I’m considered blue but I’m green)

      • Connie George

        As long as you have a brown eyed parent they whole all eye color genes. A brown eye parent can have any eye color child from how I understood it in school

  • Denis St

    What should I say…
    My eyes turned from light blue to grassy/olive green in 8-9th grade, one of my eye corner has a little part of light blue, but hardly noticeable (unless you pay close attention) my hair from ginger turned to the darkest brown/black then it turned into almost dirty blonde color..

  • Eye color doesn’t run the “gambit,” people. It runs the “gamut.” A gamut is a scale; a gambit is a chess move, or other scheme.

  • GeneJacket

    god as soon as i saw the pol my self esteem just went down 100%
    – brown eyed girl

  • GC

    I am 100% Mexican and have green eyes that can look bright blue when I wear blue or in all white environments. I was told I was born with sky blue eyes but they changed color when I was 8-9 month old to green. All the members of my bio father have green eyes and his father as well. All my mother’s have brown except for her great grandmma who had blue. Im older now and notice my eye color is changing to more blue than green, I don’t like that! And never knew they were rare?? I went to grammar school in small town in central Mexico. Out of a class of about 25, 6 kids had green eyes, WTH?? And I never knew why I was sensitiv to bright light and I hate the sun!! I was freaked to learn in the poll, I am Latino, a Scorpio and other traits I can relate to LoL! Thx

  • BTDTGTTS

    My husband has one blue and one green eye. I have pale grey blue eyes. My son has brilliant blue eyes with a dark ring around them and a few yellow specks. My daughter has soft green eyes with a dark ring and yellow specks. I love all their eye colors and just wish mine weren’t so wishy washy grey blue.

    • Le Panayi

      grey-blue is a great eye colour!

  • David

    I have green eyes which are very sensitive to light or even a breeze (especially a winter one). I used to get compliments about my eyes when I was younger but not so much now. 🙁
    I like the fact that they are a rare trait.

  • Gulfidan

    Well I do have very different green eye color most people they don’t believe it is my regular color😂 I am Turkish and no one in my family have my eye color! When I cry it turns to bright green when I go out sunny day turns to yellow when I am angry dark green😍 Well thank you dr John Moore for great article!

  • OlivierDMG

    yup people notice my eyes and start to tell me how beautiful they are, sometimes it’s just weird.

  • ahls

    I used to have brown eyes, here is my video what i did to change it to hazel green
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOe00BkUbjE

  • Tonia Gleaton

    NO Green eyes on my mothers side of the family they are all BLUE or BROWN on my Dad’s side BLUE,BROWN a,small % of GREEN eyes, I am one of those with the GREEN eyes and always been very proud of them for sure. I have a sister with HAZEL eyes but her eyes have more BROWN then GREEN in them but they are still beautiful, my brother her TWIN has CRYSTAL BLUE eyes. I am working on our genealogy and had a gathering this summer of cousins and family that I had never met but it AMAZED me that 90% and that maybe LOW!!! They were GREEN eyed it was varies shades but they were GREEN eyed . I have never seen that many GREEN eyed people in one place it was AWESOME

  • Americkan

    I have very green eyes and very fair skin,when I was born and until about four my hair was white,then went to blond,then light brown. At the ripe age of 35 my hair went from light brown right back to white/silver. My eye color however remained green. My parents and 4siblings do not have green eyes, only me. Until recently I never gave my eye color much thought but now I think I’m just a little unique.

  • Di

    I have green eyes and thought it was a common color, maybe not.

  • Hamza Asghar Khan

    My Eyes are extremely dark.. I sometimes wonder if they are even green or not… 😛 https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2e2d37bb1417410beeebff175db2f1902155e33dcbd96f167797f8c349dd0df5.jpg

    • Le Panayi

      yup, definitely green!

      • Wanza Good

        Looks kind of like a mixture of mostly grey with some green.

  • Le Panayi

    I have green eyes and always wanted dark brown!!

  • Rebecca A

    I have green eyes. My mother said when I was born my eyes were so blue they looked purple and stayed that way for 3 years. Now people don’t believe I’m not wearing contacts. It’s creepy for me. I can’t even look people in the face directly

  • Meryl Burke

    Dr. John Moore, Fun article but I’ve got to let you know for some reason hue was spelled incorrectly as hew. Thanks, Truly, green eyes.

  • Rinny

    I do not believe green eyes are rare. I know many many people with green eyes.

  • Ava Hollenbach

    I dont know what color my eyes are my freinds say they are hazel but idk

  • Elisa Maarschalkerweerd

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/dafa53f6632c4390ea28bac1b0f5ca5c59b9749709330eb1dbfa0e1360d9ed99.jpg i think green eyes are very beautiful. I have them and people often say thet i have a sparkel in my eye like there is a little diamond in my eyes.

  • EbonyIvoryRose

    I’m the only one in my whole family that has green eyes, as far as i know. It’s pretty funny actually, I’m completely the odd one out as the only green eyed person amongst all brown eyes.

  • Shadowpaw

    I have light greenish yellow eyes, chartreuse colored. I have night blindness to some degree and my eyes are slightly light sensitive My hair is blondish red naturally. When i get mad some people have told me that my eyes flash, which i have never seen but i have been told this by numerous people. Some people don’t like me to stare at them because they say it’s spooky. Lol ! .