Learn About The Origin of Amber Eyes in People

amber eyes male
Amber eyes are super rare


Amber eyes are stunning to look at. They also happen to be very rare. While the specific number of people who have them are hard to know, it is thought that only .01% of the human population has them, based on scientific studies.

If we assume that planet earth has approximately 7 billion people on it, this would mean only 700,000 have amber colored eyes.

Some people describe this eye color as golden. Others use terms like copper and yellow. In truth, much of how we experience eye color is subjective. We’ll be exploring these topics in detail and many more.

Quick fact: There’s only a handful of celebrities who have amber shades and very few of them are male.

amber golden eyes
Amber eyes are often translucent


Attempting to define amber eyes is difficult. That’s because shades of amber can be light or dark and contain a yellow copper tint with hues of green-hazel and brown.

A person is said to have amber eyes when the reflective light from their iris casts off a near translucent, golden color. Some compare this to “cat eyes”. Others think of reptilian creatures.

amber eyes man
Amber eyes sometimes look hazel. Photo Credit: Red Hot 100


This article is designed to offer a comprehensive overview of amber colored eyes. On this page, you will learn:

  • How amber colored eyes happen for people
  • The science of eye color
  • Amber eyes heredity
  • How eye color can be changed
  • How health impacts the color of eyes
  • Influences of green, hazel and blue eyes on amber
  • Enhancing amber colored eyes
  • Celebrities with amber eyes
  • Amber eye myths
  • Amber eyes and eye shadow
  • Amber eye product recommendations
amber eyes one eye guy
Amber eyes sometimes glow


You are probably curious about the science of amber eyes. If truth be told, I am too because so much of it is fascinating! I’ll walk you through the basics and explain the material I’ve discovered.

Like all eye colors, a person with amber color obtains this shade as function of heredity and genetics. Specifically, the two factors that influence eye color include: 1) pigmentation of the iris and 2) the scattering of light around the iris itself.

Eye color can run a virtual prism of possibilities ranging from the darkest blue to the lightest green to the richest dark brown.

Influencing those shades is a substance called melanin; a complex polymer made from the amino acid tyrosine that is embedded into the iris and codes your eye color to what you see today.

More: Green eyes are super rare

If you have amber eyes, it is a gift that has been passed on to you that’s been millions of years in the making. Through a series of complicated mutations that have occurred since mankind first walked on the planet, your eye color became possible.

It is thought that sometime between the late Tertiary period and early Quaternary period of the Cenozoic era, the previously mentioned mutations took place.

Science of Green Eyes

Melanin content in eye color of people with green, amber, hazel, brown, blue, violet and gray and black eyes
Eye ColorMelanin Amount: Front Layer of IrisMelanin Amount: Back Layer of IrisDominant Pigmentation
HazelMedium: Less than green. More than brownNormalEumelanin and Pheomelanin
GreenCloser to blue; less than brownNormalPheomelanin
GreyLess than green and hazelNormalEumelanin mix
Violet/PurpleSmall to noneSmall to littleUnknown
BlackHeavyHeavyBlack Eumelanin
AmberLess than brownLightEumelanin and Pheomelanin


It is important to note that genetics alone do not create the golden color others see in you. There is another factor that’s uniquely linked called Rayleigh scattering.

At its core, Rayleigh scattering is a phrase used to describe how light scatters over something after cresting through the spectrum wavelength.

Many mistakenly believe that eye color is predominantly a function of the iris. But it’s really not. Instead, the unique eye color you have, like amber, is directly influenced by how light is dispersed across the melanin’s base. Determined by genetics, it is a function of ancestral coding.

blue eyes light scatter
Amber eyes are in part due to light scattering Credit: Wikicommons


For decades, scientists believed eye color was the result of one dominant gene. There was even a theory that an eye color pyramid existed with dark brown being at the top of the ladder and amber lower on the scale.

Under this outdated way of thinking, this meant if your father had amber eyes and your mom had hazel eyes, you would probably have some shade of golden.

A bio-parental combination of two amber eyes would translate into you having something copper. Some ocular scientists thought recessive genes also partially influenced eye color.


A new study, published in a 2008 publication of the American Journal of Human Genetics replaced the old way of thinking how people get their eye color.

The research postulates that as many as 16 genes influence how color is expressed in in the iris. Part of this involves adaptions that occur through single-nucleotide polymorphism or (SNP.)

In non-science speak, this means an infant can be born with just about any eye color, regardless of what mom and dad have. As an aside, one does need to factor in hereditary variables as part of the equation.

Amber eyes specifically are thought to have been part of the genetic sequencing in humans since hominids first showed up on the geologic time scale.

If you are Spanish, Asian, South American or of South African decent, there is a greater likelihood of having amber eyes. Theoretically, any race can have amber eyes. Many Irish and Southern Italian have this color. Still, the occurrence of true amber eyes is rare.


If you are interested in seeing people with amber eyes, the video below offers a great opportunity to see first hand this amazing golden hue.


Many people are naturally curious if they can change their eye color. The answer is yes – just not in the way you might think.

The most common ways eye color can change includes:

  • How light scatters across the iris
  • Your mood
  • Medical and health reasons


To learn more about the science of eye color, including people with shades of amber, gold and copper, watch the video below.


Your eye color can become permanently changed if you take certain medications for the treatment of glaucoma.

If you have copper colored peeps and want to keep them, be extremely mindful with any glaucoma medications you take. Get all the facts you can from your doctor so that you can make an informed decision.

hazel eyes, green eyes, olive eyes, brown blue eyes
Amber eyes often combine different eye colors


If you have amber eyes, you are more vulnerable to the sun’s damaging radiation. That’s because of our old friend melanin and protein synthesis.

To be blunt, amber eyed people are at risk for specific types of ocular cancers. An example is intraocular melanoma. People with golden eyes should wear UV protective sunglasses when outdoors.

hazel eyes rare
Amber or hazel eyes?

As previously mentioned, amber eyes, green eyes and dark blue eyes don’t specifically have these shades deposited into the iris. Believe it or not, your eye pigmentation contains a little brown.

Through Rayleigh scattering, your eyes will reflect back a certain colored hue.

amber color eyes changes
Can Amber change to another 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 gold color in eyes.

  • Type of lighting: Man-made lighting (aka: a light bulb) can influence how others perceive your eye color. The strength of the light reflecting on your iris will either intensify or soften ocular appearance.
  • Outdoor light: When outdoors, solar rays may be more intense early in the day, which means your iris will “pick-up” different intensities.
  • Reflective objects: Colors from all that surrounds you, like your clothing, can influence how eye color is experienced. Certain shades, like browns, blues and deep greens can bring out the melanin flecks from the iris.
  • Your makeup: Some inviduals wear eye-makeup, like chocolate and green eye-shadow, to accentuate the natural amber of the iris. When properly applied, this can create the unique effect of having chameleon eyes.
  • Seasonal allergies: Some folks with seasonal allergies have “itchy eyes” which can make the “whites” of the cornea turn red (aka: bloodshot eyes). In turn, this can cause the unwanted effect of having puffy eyes.
  • Emotions: Your emotional state doesn’t directly transform your eye color however, what you feel at any one point in time may influence how they are perceived. Example: if you are crying because of depression, your pupils will dilate. This will cause others to experience your eyes as dark.
  • Alcohol and Drugs: Use of alcohol, downers, uppers, opoids and other kinds of substances can make your pupils look larger or smaller. The resulting impact is that your eyes can look intensely glossy.



Should your eyes change colors suddenly or if your pupils stay dilated for an extended period of time, call your doctor immediately. Remember, you only get one set of eyes so don’t take them for granted.



There are only a small number of celebrities who have amber color eyes. This goes back to the rarity of this color among humans.

Below you will find a listing of stars that have a golden color. Some may be more pronounced than others. Additionally, it’s possible that several of these could technically fall into other color categories.

Much of how we experience eye color is subjective, influenced by the factors mentioned above.

  • Hugo Steele
  • Michael Noher
  • Edward Cullen
  • Gabriel Valenzuela
  • Amanda Righetti
  • Emily Harrison
  • Alexandra Liao
  • Dayna Devon
  • Emmanuel Delcour
  • Amanda Righetti
  • Sarah Wright
  • Michelle McLaughlin
  • Nicole Richie
  • Bella Swan
  • Edward Cullen
  • Courtney Culken



Amber eyes are super unique and certainly desired by many. As such, there are scores of myths about people with this golden hue. Here are some of the biggies.

  • Amber eyed people are more beautiful.
  • Amber eyes are synonymous with dark spots on the face.
  • Amber eyed women have supernatural powers.
  • Amber eyed men have longer relationships.
  • Amber eyed folks are the best in bed.
  • Amber eyed people live shorter life spans.
  • Amber eyed people are more spiritually attuned.
  • Amber eyed people are usually Leos.


The poll below is designed to assess what you think about eye color. There’s nothing scientific about it and should only be used for entertainment purposes.

That said, the results may offer insight about what other people think about eye color – including amber colored eyes. Don’t make the mistake of linking your self-esteem to results.


Your eye color is unique. No two individuals can have exactly the same eye color, unless they were born identical twins. When exploring the origins of eye color, we can see how adaptation has changed them over time. Some believe environmental factors have influence over the these changes.

As silly as this may sound, there are people who believe amber eyes are the result of aliens who visited earth from another galaxy.

As the theory goes, these creatures injected their DNA into the human DNA pool. However, when you look at other lifeforms on our planet, you will notice a myriad of different colors.

Are these variations a function of Darwinian adaptation or did beings from Alpha Centauri deposit them into a primordial zygote?

amber eyes in a person
Amber eyes are very different


Some people are curious about the best makeup for amber colored eyes. I’ve talked to a number of women who have this color and they’ve shared with me that shades of purple, reds and browns seem to work best.

An example of this can be found in Coastal Scents eye shadow kit, which you can buy on Amazon or in some stores.


We still have a lot to learn about eye color, including gold and amber colored eyes. We do know that some people really want to change their eye color desperately and have undergone risky medical procedures to create change. See this post from ABC News.

Rather than do something that could potentially damage your eyesight forever, it may be best to opt for colored contact lenses.

Finally, if you have amber eyes, see the product listings below from Amazon. They have been served up to compliment your unique eye color!



Strum, R., et al. (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

Pascal D. Imesch, P., et al. (1997). The color of the human eye: A review of morphologic correlates and of some conditions that affect iridial pigmentation. Survey of Ophthalmology.

About John D. Moore 391 Articles
Dr. John Moore is a licensed counselor and Editor-in-Chief of Guy Counseling. A journalist and blogger, he writes about a variety of topics related to wellness. His interests include technology, outdoor activities, science, and men's health. Check out his show --> The Men's Self Help Podcast