Eye color is a physical feature that has fascinated world cultures for centuries. In ancient cultures, people with green eyes were believed to be witches or wizards, and those with blue eyes were believed to be able to endure immense pain. These superstitions may seem far-fetched, but even today, there are people who make personality predictions based on eye color. Some people say that having blue eyes makes you more competitive or that having brown eyes means you are more trustworthy. Finding connections between eye color and personality is a fun pastime, but is there any real connection between eye color and eye health?
Let’s explore a few modern myths about eye color and see if there is any scientific evidence to back them up:
People with light eyes have worse vision
While there is evidence that less pigment in the iris results in more sensitivity to light, there is little proof that people with blue eyes or gray eyes are at risk for poor vision. People with light eyes may be more susceptible to the harmful UV rays from the sun, which means they could be at higher risk for developing cataracts or macular degeneration. Whether they develop the condition, however, depends more on environmental factors such as latitude, sun exposure and sun protection than on eye pigmentation.
People with darker eyes have better reaction time
A common belief is that people with darker eyes have stronger vision than those with lighter eyes, but there are no studies to support this theory. There is evidence to support that dark-eyed individuals are more adept at reactive-type tasks like boxing, playing defense in football and hitting baseballs. If you have light eyes, you are more likely to have an entirely different skill set. People with blue, gray or light green eyes are better at self-paced skills like bowling, hitting golf balls or throwing baseballs. (Source: New York Times)
Having eyes of two different colors (heterochromia) is a genetic mutation
There are many factors that can cause heterochromia, and a genetic mutation is only one of them. Often, heterochromia is congenital (a genetic trait that can be inherited), but it can also be caused by Horner’s syndrome (a nerve interruption in the eye). You can also develop heterochromia. Causes of acquired heterochromia include eye injuries, uveitis (inflammation of the middle layer of the eye) and certain glaucoma medications. (Source: All About Vision).
Although it’s fun to make associations between eye color and eye health, the shade of your irises has very little to do with your visual acuity or whether you will develop eye disease. The best way to care for your vision, regardless of the color around your pupil, is to make yearly appointments for comprehensive eye exams. An eye exam does more than just test your vision; your eyes can be portals that offer a glimpse of your overall health!