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by uma



9 August 2022…Look into my eyes and what do you see? No doubt the first thing you’ll notice is the eye colour, or rather the iris, the part of the eye which provides its distinctive colour.

Did you know?

  • Blue eyed people are all genetically related 
  • Green eyes are rare with only two per cent of the population having this eye colour 
  • Brown eyes are the most common eye colour, it is believed all our ancestors had brown eyes 
  • Eye colour is a polygenic trait which mean many genes are responsible for eye colour. To date 50 new genes for eye colour have been identified! 

Well Dr Nabila Jones, optometrist from Optegra Eye Sciences, the research arm of Optegra Eye Health Care explains all!

Brown, blue, hazel, green, grey – whatever shade you’re proud to call your own, it will have been inherited from your parents. The exact colour and shade of your iris depends on how much of the pigment called melanin you have. Blue, grey or green eyes are lighter in colour because they have less melanin in the iris whilst brown eyes have a higher melanin content, hence they are darker.

Interestingly, babies don’t have any melanin in their eyes which is why they all begin life with blue eyes. The melanin gradually increases as they get older until the eyes reach their true colour, which can be as late as three years old. 

Trauma, disease and ageing can also affect eye colour, with iris melanoma (tumour of the iris) causing the affected areas of the iris appearing darker, like an enlarged freckle. 

Apart from giving us all a different look, can the colour of our eyes have an impact on any other parts of our bodies, for example our health? 

Well, lighter coloured eyes can be more sensitive to the sun’s harmful rays as melanin helps to protect our eyes.

Darker iris colour, brown eyes can be associated with an increased risk of cataract as melanin absorbs energy, creating a rise in eye temperature and a possible acceleration in cataract formation.

For these reasons eye health care specialists at Optegra recommend that we should all wear sunglasses when outdoors to protect our eyes. 

Optegra Eye Health Care is a specialist provider of ophthalmic services. Established in 2007, it has completed over one million eye procedures from its 34 eye hospitals and clinics across the UK, Czech Republic and Poland.

Optegra brings together leading-edge research, medical expertise and state-of-the-art surgical equipment.  It performs more than 100,000 treatments annually, both private and publicly funded. Its top ophthalmic surgeons are renowned for their areas of expertise, offering excellent clinical outcomes and great patient service.