25 Amazing Facts About Green Eyes

Did you know these facts about  green eyes?

Looking for facts about green eyes? Do you have family members or friends with this eye color? Have you ever wondered where green eyes come from?

If the answer is yes, join the club. Many people are curious about green eyes because they are so fascinating.

While there is no way to be sure, scientists think 2% of the world’s population has green eyes. The frequency of seeing green eyes in people largely depends on geographic location.

An example can be found in northern Europe, particularly the Scandinavian countries, where approximately 80% of the population has greenish blue eye color.

This article is all about your eye color and will touch on green, blue, brown and amber eyes. My hope in penning this piece is to help you better understand how you got unique eyeshade.

In this article, you will learn:

  • How pigmentation influences eye color
  • The link between melanin and eye color expression
  • Why green eyes are so unique
  • Common beliefs about green eyes and personality
  • Myths about eye color, including green
  • The popularity of green eyes

Pigmentation and eye color

Many people think that green eyes are a result of ocular pigmentation. But that is a common misnomer. That is because eye pigments don’t contain eye color.

In other words, people with blue eyes don’t have blue pigments and people with brown eyes down have brown pigments.

To help offer clarity, let’s discuss examine several terms that will serve as a foundation for all that follows. I’ve tried to keep the language simple to avoid confusion.

  • Iris: Surrounding the pupil is the iris; a ring-shaped membrane that contains pigmentation. It sits directly behind the cornea of the eye.
  • Eye Pigmentation: Clinical term used to describe eye color. Often, the more unique a person’s eye color, the more descriptive the term. Examples include hazel, jade, aqua, amber, and jasmine.
  • Melanin: A complex polymer made from the amino acid tyrosine. This is a critical component of how people experience eye color.
  • Lipochrome: Yellow-like pigmentation that gives some people the unusual amber color eyes.

Now that you have an overview of the terminology, let’s move on and explore 25 amazing facts about green eyes that might surprise you!

factual information green eyes
Interesting facts on green eyes

1. How people get green eyes

Green eyes, like any other eye color, are a function of genetics and influenced by 1) the pigmentation of your iris and 2); the way light scatters across the melanin base.

In evolutionary biology, genetics and heredity converge to create a trait in an organism. In humans, this can mean an expressive trait of green eyes.

2. Light scattering influences color shade

Have you ever noticed that some people have different shades of eye color? For example, your friend may have hazel eyes and your cousin may have seaweed color.

Part of the reason for this relates to the phenomenon of Rayleigh scattering; a ten-dollar term used to describe the way light scatters along the spectral wavelength.

An easy way to think of concept is to consider how the sky looks on a clear day. Usually, it’s pale blue. The reason you experience that color is the way light travels across the atmosphere and reflects off the planet’s oceans.

Mars, conversely, is devoid of oceans. Its surface is a brownish red. As a result, the Martian atmosphere gives off a rust color, a reflection of the ground below.

In much the same way, the dynamics of eye color works much the same way.

Rayleigh scattering
Rayleigh scattering. Credit: Space.com

3. As many as 16 genes involved

A 2008 study in the American Journal of Genetics ushered in a new era on how we think about eye color. In the past, most people thought pigmentation was a function of a dominant gene.

The research, however, suggests as many as 16 genes may be involved with a direct impact on how color is expressed in the Iris. Scientists refer to this as a polygenic gene.

4. Green eyes and anthropology

There is some anthropological evidence of people with green eyes dating back to mankind’s early beginnings. Researchers believe people with light colored eyes lived in the mountain system in Eurasia, located between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.

In evolutionary terms, this area is known as the “Silk Route”; a natural land bridge that existed between 120 BCE – 1450s.

5. Mating spread green eyes across early peoples

The silk route had a critical role in the creation of the early civilizations of China, the Kingdom of Korea, swaths of Japan, the Indian subcontinent, regions of Persia and the Horn of Arabia and Africa.

Early traders used this route for the purposes of trade. It is believed peoples from the various regions met one another on this path and would – as humans do – to procreate.

This may be why we see so many individuals with green eyes across parts of Europe, Africa, and Asia.

hazel-green shade
Shade of hazel-green

6. OCA2 gene consideration

The OCA2 gene is thought to influence eye color. OCA2 gives instructions for making an enzyme called the P protein. This protein is housed in melanocytes; specialized cells that discharge a pigment called melanin.

While scientists aren’t totally sure, some believe a lack of P protein, created by OCA2, may be responsible for color intensity.

This may help to explain why some people have bright green eyes and others have hues of hazel-brown. Yellow and blue, when combined, make green.

7. Early origins of green eyes

Many scientists believe light colored eyes, including green, may have first shown up in people of Iranian, Spanish, Brazilian and Pakistani descent in the early part of the Cenozoic period.

In geologic time, this would be between the Pleistocene and Holocene epochs, some 2 to 3 million years ago. See this geologic time scale to learn more.

In many ways, this makes sense when one considers the Silk Route mentioned in fact number four.

8. Green eyes are seen in all races

The presence of green eye color can be found across all races. Contrary to urban myth, this shade of color is not unique to persons of European descent.

Because of genetic mutations that have occurred over the millennium, we see variations of green across our species.

Young man’s face with green eyes

9. Health can affect eye color

While your eyes are fixed in their color, this doesn’t mean they can’t change. In truth, certain health conditions can alter how they are experienced by others.

For example, should you have glaucoma and are treated with certain medications, your eye color can permanently change.

Horner’s syndrome and Fuch’s heterochromic iridocyclitis can also change your eye color. This is why you should contact your doctor if you ever notice any sudden change in vision or notice something different about your eye color.

10. Increased risk for certain cancers

People with light colored eyes, such as greens and blues, are thought to be at higher risk for certain types of cancers, such as intraocular melanoma.

Regardless of eye color, you should wear sunglasses that offer protection from ultra-violet light. Never stare directly into the sun as doing so can damage your vision permanently.

You can buy sunglasses almost anywhere, but optometrists recommend polarized lenses that offer maximum protection. An example can be found these Gamma Ray glasses (See Amazon).

11. Influence of alcohol

Have you ever noticed that when a person drinks alcohol, the intensity of their eye color seems to change? Some describe this phenomenon as a glossy-look.

What’s really going on is the person’s pupils are dilating. In turn, this can impact intensity levels.

Heterochromia
Heterochromia example

12. One green eye

Some people have one hazel eye and one blue eye. Others have a hazel eye and a brown eye.

The medical name for this condition is Heterochromia. While there isn’t firm agreement among scientists about the causes of this unique ocular feature, some believe it relates to a gene mutation.

13. No two eye colors the same

Your greenish eyes may closely resemble the same shade as your grandmother but one this is for sure – they aren’t carbon copies.

That’s because no two people have exactly the same eye color, with the exception of identical twins.

14. Makeup and eye color

The way a person’s eye color is perceived can be influenced by cosmetics. In this way, it is possible to create the illusion of greater intensity.

Many women opt for composing kits that are designed specifically for green eyes, such as Gorgeous Cosmetics (See Amazon).

jade eyes
Jade green eyes

15. Color can change with age

Some people notice that over the course of their lifetime, their eye color will change. While it’s unlikely someone will go from blue to amber, it’s possible a brown can transform into hazel.

Conversely, others may notice their eye color will darken, making hazel eyes transform into brown.

16. Allergies and eye color

If you have allergies, you may have noticed that your eye color may change in intensity. An example might be a light green appearing to turn greener.

Much of this has to do with the relationship between histamines and the cornea tearing up. With greater amounts of moisture, the more intense eye color appears.

17. Time of day and green eyes

In the morning, a person with green eyes may appear to have a hazy color. As the day continues, the intensity may sharpen.

Some of this has to do with blood circulation and how various nutrients are delivered to the eyes.

Many people use vitamins that are specifically created for ocular health and to brighten (See Amazon).

tyler hoechlin green eyes
Green eyes of Tyler Hoechlin

18. Emotions and green eyes

Do your eyes become brighter when you feel happy? Do they become more colorful when you are angry or sad?

The reason is that your pupils are dilating in concert with your feeling state. Emotions have long been known to influence how eye color is experienced.

19. Harrison Ford has green eyes

In the technical sense, the actor who is known for playing Hans Solo in the Star Wars saga, as well as Indiana Jones, has green eyes. Well, a variation of green to be exact.

Ford, born in 1942, has green-blue eyes. Look at some of his photos and you will notice how they have changed over the years.

20 Green eyes considered most attractive

According to a number of public surveys, including a poll conducted on this website, green eyes are considered the most attractive of the different shades.

Blue and hazel are also popular. Not to be left out, brown is also enjoyed by many.

22. Green eyes and puffiness

Many people believe that people with green eyes are more susceptible to eye puffiness and the dreaded “baggy eyes”.

While there is no clinical proof of this, we do know some races are more likely to struggle with allergies than others, according to research.

It is possible to effectively treat baggy eyes with simple home remedies. However, to get to the root of your puffiness, it is best to visit a doctor.

Hazel green eyes
Hazel green eyes in a women

23. Melanin and hazel eyes

Your eye color is also linked to the concentration of melanin in your pigmentation. The greater the melanin, deeper the color.

Hazel eyes, for example, have a kind of middle ground amount of melanin that helps reflect outward a greenish brown hue.

24. Some animals have green eyes

We like to think of eye color in terms of humans but in truth, many animal species have green colored eyes.

Examples include cats, dogs, reptiles, and some fish.

25. Clothing can influence eye color

Your clothing choices can influence how others experience your eye color. In the case of greens and hazel eyes, shirts, jackets, and sweaters that are gold, blue and emerald can give your peeps more vibrancy.

Personality and green eyes
Personality and green eyes

Personality and eye color

Some people believe there is a relationship between eye color and personality. Perhaps you do as well?

Here are some common traits [not based on science] related to personality and eye color:

  • Brown: Honest, trustworthy, kind-hearted, and friendly.
  • Green: Sincere, caring, creative, intuitive, and empathic.
  • Blue: Risk-takers, bold, strong, cautious, guarded.
  • Hazel: Outgoing, clever, cunning, smart and outgoing.

Eye Color and Personality Poll

Just for fun, I’ve published a poll that asks you about your beliefs regarding eye color and personality.

Obviously, it’s not scientific so assess the results through the lens of entertainment only.


References:
World Population Overview (2018) Region – Scandinavia
World Population by Eye Color (2018)
Scandinavia Countries: Encyclopedia Britannica

About MJ Duff 42 Articles
Marie-Jones Duff is a Los Angeles based freelance multimedia journalist and frequent traveler with a fondness for all things bizarre and nerdy. Look for posts that focus on everything from men's fashion to science.