Blue Green Eyes: Learn About This Rare Color

Blue green eyes
Blue Green Eyes of Josh Henderson

Blue Green Eyes are Unusual

Blue green eyes are amazing to look at. Part of the reason they hold our attention is because they are extremely rare. While the science is somewhat scattered, the current research suggests that only around 3-5% of the human population has true blue green eyes. 

That’s pretty amazing when you consider there’s over 7 billion people on the planet. What’s more, having blue green eyes are unusual because the human species only has three predominant color shades:

  • Blue
  • Green
  • Brown

Blue green eyes also captivate our imagination because both of these colors are rare. As you will read later on, the majority of people on the planet have brown eyes. 

Related: Learn about grey eyes

Eye Colors: The Main Three

Before we learn more about the rarity of blue green eyes, it might be helpful to take an in depth look at the three primary colors mentioned before: blue, green and brown respectively.

blue eyes where did they come from?
Blue Eye with specs of brown

Blue Eyes

Research on blue eyes is a hot area of science. Right now, we think that somewhere around 8% of the world’s population have blue eyes. It is important to state that we still don’t know for sure.

Should that number prove to be accurate, this means that nearly 56 million people are born with some shade of blue.

Related: Blue Eyes: Learn About Their Origins

People from northern Europe, particularly in Scandinavia, seem to have highest numbers of blue eyed people.

Bear in mind that there are different shades of blue, including aqua, crystal and “sky” blue. And there can be a mixture of different hews, which create hazel.

blue eyes bright
Blue Eye with dark dark pupil

Where do blue eyes originate from?

There are a number of theories about the origins of blue eyes. Because we see specific ethnic groups with higher numbers of blue eyed people, it is thought there is a genetic factor at play.

For example, individuals born in Germany, Ireland, Scotland, England and northern Italy seem to have a higher proportion of blue eyes when compared to other countries.

In fact, regional studies suggest something like 70% of people who are indigenous to these areas have some shades of blue green. Some people refer to these as seaweed color.

At one time, it was thought that if a person was born with blue eyes, it meant that their father had a dominant gene. In fact, this theory was so relied upon that it was taught in most high schools and colleges.

Think back to your biology courses. Do you remember?

In 2008, however, a paper came out in the American Journal of Human Genetics that did away with much of what we thought we knew about eye color.

The current thinking now suggests that there are 16 genes that influence eye color and that having a family member with a dominant gene may not be all that important.

Origins of blue eyes

The debate rages on regarding the origins of blue eyes. The newest research points to the possibility of blue eyed people having one common ancestor; postulated by the University of Copenhagen.

Through a series of genetic mutations occurring over millions of years, which happened as part of adaptation, blue eyes have become part of the human race.

We still do not know if the color blue in eye color serves a specific function.

chris pine blue eyes
Blue eyes of Chris Pine

Celebrities with blue eyes

male green eyes
Green Eyes of a man

Green Eyes

If you have green eyes, consider yourself to be in a very special club. That’s because the current research suggests that only 2% of the world’s population has green as an eye color.

Related: Green Eyes: Learn Why They Are Very Unique

We see people with green eyes all over the planet. The higher concentration of this color (including hazel eyes) can be found in most all of Europe. Interestingly enough, we also see shades of green in western Asia.

When you do the math and break down that 2% mentioned earlier, this means that only around 140 million people out of 7 billion on the planet have some shade of green.

Where do green eyes originate from?

Just like blue eyes, green eyes are thought to be part of the human species as a result of genetic adaptations. Mankind as we know it has only been on the planet for around 200,000 years.

But if you trace back human ancestry using a geologic timescale and take into account adaptation, we nearly pinpoint our beginnings to two million years ago – during the Pleistocene Epoch.

At some point during the evolutionary period, green eyes started to appear as part of humanity. Some scientists think there was a functional aspect involved, which may have been the result of extinction events. We still don’t know the real answers.

What’s clear is that green eyes are less common than blue and that we see different shades of blue green in many people. Most predominantly, this color appears in Caucasians. Why this is the case is still a mystery.

hazel eyes channing tatum
Green eyes of Channing Tatum

Celebrities with green eyes

  • Harrison Ford
  • Jack Nicholson
  • Tom Welling
  • Tom Cruise
  • Willie Ames
  • Vincent Perez
  • David Beckham
  • Channing Tatum
  • Jude Law
Brown eyes of a man
Brown eyes of a man

Brown Eyes

Brown eyes are the most prominent color on the planet. Like the other hews mentioned, we are not sure how many people have brown eyes. Current research suggests that something like 65% of the global population has some type of brown pigmentation in the iris.

Related: Brown Eyes: Learn All About Them

We see men and women with brown eyes all over the planet. The largest concentration of people with brown eyes, including brown-green eyes, can be found in southern Europe, Africa and throughout Asia.

South American people tend to have darker colored eyes. Tectonic plate shifting may be the causal reason when Pangea broke off and formed Africa and South America. Watch this short video below for more insight.

What is the origin of brown eyes?

Like the previously mentioned eye colors, brown eyes are thought to be present from mankind’s earliest manifestations on earth. Some scientists believe that most early humans had some form of brown; but they are unsure why.

What’s interesting to note is that when you look at the color of most monkey’s eyes, they are commonly brown – with some having a brownish hazel tine.

Brown is thought to have been a camouflage color as part of human adaptation, thereby allowing early man to hide in the brush during the hunter-gather stage of development.

Taylor Lautner eyes brown
Brown eyes of Taylor Lautner

Celebrities with brown eyes

  • Taylor Lautner
  • Gio Benitez
  • Brody Jenner
  • Zachary Quinto
  • Will Smith
  • Joey Lawrence
  • Orlando Bloom
  • Ryan Guzman
  • Ryan Reynolds
blue green eye
Blue green eye of Tyler Hoechlin

Blue Green Eyes

All of the previously mentioned material has brought us to the topic of blue green eyes. What exactly are they? And why do some people have one blue eye and one green eye?

Blue green eyes are no different than the other eye colors mentioned before when it comes to origin. They are thought to be part of human evolution as part of adaptation.

What’s different about blue green eyes are the moniker they often go by; hazel eyes. But what many folks don’t realize is that one doesn’t have to have a combination of blue and green to have “hazel”. That’s because hazel eyes can include brown blue or brown green.

Related: Hazel Eyes: Learn Why They Are Special

Origin of blue green eyes

Perhaps the most fascinating part of blue green eyes relates to their origin. The research suggests that the mixed shade of blue green only started appearing in the human species around 10,000 years ago.

When you consider the geologic timescale mentioned earlier, that’s not very long ago!

Several scientists think the blue green adaptation happened sometime after the last ice age, which was some 8,000 years ago.

Here is a direct quote from the research, appearing in Human Genetics in 2008 on this topic:

“One single haplotype, represented by six polymorphic SNPs covering half of the 3′ end of the HERC2 gene, was found in 155 blue-eyed individuals from Denmark, and in 5 and 2 blue-eyed individuals from Turkey and Jordan, respectively.”

When you cut through the scientific mumbo-jumbo, the scientists are basically saying that blue and green may come to us from Scandinavia but that a mixture took place at some point with people mating in modern day Mesopotamia.

eddie redmayne blue green eyes
Blue green eyes of Eddie Redmayne

Blue green eyes rare

True blue green eyes are extremely rare. To qualify as having blue green, one must have a hint of both colors in the iris. This is a distinctive feature that separates people who have hazel eyes, where either green or brown are prominent.

A person can also have blue green eyes if there is a different color in each eye. For example, actor Josh Henderson has one blue eye and one green eye. Very, very rare.

Why do some people have one blue eye and one green?

Scientists think there are some people born with different eye colors (aka: mixed eye color) as an accident of genetics. The name of this condition is heterochromia.

We honestly don’t know the answer. DNA from both parents are part of the child’s genetic material, which may have experienced some type of alteration during the zygote phase of development.

There are no in womb studies that presently explain what’s going on.

The Science Behind Blue Green Eyes

When a person is born with blue green eyes, it is the direct result of genetics. As mentioned previously, there are 16 known genes involved with the process.

Melanin and Eye Color

There is a substance called melanin that is common in all humans. Made of a complex polymer with the amino acid tyrosine, this chemical has a lot to do with how your eyes are experienced by others.

Melanin Based Reaction

The concentration of melanin in your eyes reflects back light from its source. The richer the melanin, the deeper the color a person will see.

If you have green blue eyes, however, it is possible that what is mirrored back is black. That’s because the base of the iris isn’t able to project these two hews at once.

jensen ackles green eyes
Jensen Ackles: Credit Fanpop

Blue Green Eyes and Light

Part of your eye contains something called an iris. This iris itself is made up of two layers, with one in the front and one in the back.

Sandwiched between the two is the stoma, which is essentially made up of collagen. This information is important to know because eye color, like blue green, isn’t determined by the iris itself.

Instead, the shade is linked to how the melanin previously mentioned reflects back light.

Light reflection can be natural or artificial. Either way, light itself largely influences how others experience your eye color.

Eye Color Chart

eye color chart
Eye Color Chart: Notice the different shades

When you look carefully at someone who has blue green eyes, doesn’t it seem like their color changes right in front of you? That’s because of the way light bounces off the melanin base.

Or in scientific terms – Rayleigh Scattering.

While this may sound like a fancy term, Rayleigh scattering is phenomenon that dictates how light bends and scatters.  This is why you experience a blue sky instead of a red one, like on Mars.

Here is a video that may help to better explain how this dynamic works.

Blue Green Eyes Changes

There are other factors that impact how others experience blue green eyes. Examples include:

  • Mood
  • Clothing
  • Makeup
  • Weather
  • Medical reasons

The above mentioned may sound odd but remember, eye color is almost always experienced through the presence of light. The intensity of that color also depends on chemical reactions happening inside of the body.

Related: Get rid of dark circles and bags under eyes

If you are in a sad mood, your eyes will appear more tearful and therefore brighter. If someone with blue green eyes has on a light shirt, their eye color will appear darker.

The same holds true for weather; meaning the amount of sun in the sky. Generally speaking, the more sunlight that appears, the lighter the expression of eye color.

Heterochromia blue green brown
Blue Green eyes: Heterochromia

Can You Change Your Eye Color?

There are artificial means that people use to change eye color. Primarily, this is accomplished through the use of contacts. But if you have really dark eyes, like deep brown, the use of contacts can make you have something that looks fake.

Blue Green Eye Myths

There are a number of myths associated with blue green eyes. Here is just a small sampling:

  • Blue green eyed people are smarter
  • Blue green eyed people are more attractive
  • Blue green eyed people can hypnotize people
  • Blue green eyed people live shorter lives
  • Blue green eyed people are part Latino
  • Blue green eyed men are mostly Scorpios
  • Blue green eyed women are mostly Pisces

Blue Green Eyes Poll

Just for fun, here’s a poll that asks you some questions about eye color. Please note this is for entertainment purposes only and should not be considered scientific in nature.


Do Blue Green Eyes Come from Aliens?

Some people think that a combination of blue green eye color is the direct result of alien interference on planet earth.

Obviously, there’s no evidence to support this claim but that doesn’t stop some folks from believing this. FYI: Some people think owls came from aliens too.

Related: Owl Tattoos: Symbols and Meaning

The reason the rumor started is mostly born out of urban myth. Because blue green eyes are most unusual, some people reached for a supernatural explanation. Silly – but that’s how that bit of gossip started.

Final Thoughts

Eye color is determined by a number of factors, including genetics, melanin pigmentation and the phenomenon of light.

With each passing year, scientists are learning more and more about the origins of eye color, including blue green eyes.


About John D. Moore 122 Articles
Dr. John Moore is a counselor and educator. He writes about people, places and things as a pathway to knowledge. Moore coaches, teaches and helps workplaces to do the people part better. Click on: BIO to learn more. Be sure to follow Guy Counseling on Facebook

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