The color of your eyes can indicate risk factors when it comes to specific health problems. Interestingly, if you have blue eyes, your risk of certain diseases increases compared to eyes of any other color. This is due to the lack of melanin in the iris of the eye in people with blue eyes.
Percentage of people with blue eyes in the world
While blue eyes are popular with many people, blue eyes are present in only 8-10% of the world's population. What is the most common eye color? Brown, and 79% of the world's population has brown eyes .
Blue eyes and health
Eye color is more than appearance. In science and research, blue eyes are sometimes the starting point for determining why a disease might exist. Researchers are investigating the connection between blue eyes and the increased incidence of:
- Eye cancer
- Macular degeneration
- Hearing loss
Ophthalmologists remind almost everyone with blue eyes to wear sunglasses to reduce the risk of potential eye cancer, such as ocular melanoma . In the same way, you can get melanoma on the skin, you can also get melanoma on the eye.
Melanoma of the eye is known to be more common in people with fair skin and light eyes. Although melanoma of the eye can occur at any age, the risk increases with age .
Diabetes type 1
While there are still many questions that need to be investigated and explained, European researchers note that a significant proportion of people with type 1 diabetes also have blue eyes .
The macula, which is located in the center of the retina, is prone to damage with age. This damage will make your vision more blurry and distorted. Although researchers have not yet established the exact cause, they know two facts:
- Macular degeneration is associated with age. The older you are, the more likely you are to have macular degeneration.
- Women with fair skin, blonde hair, and blue eyes are much more likely to develop macular degeneration.
According to a 2015 study, scientists are investigating the possibility that people with blue eyes have an increased risk of sensorineural hearing loss .
This form of hearing loss occurs due to damage to the inner ear or a nerve that runs from the ear to the brain. Since the inner ear uses melanin and blue eyes are caused by a lack of melanin, some researchers speculate that there may be a link between eye color and acquired hearing loss.
While the researchers cannot yet prove that eye color indicates a hearing problem, they found that people with lighter eyes had more significant hearing loss after exposure to loud sounds .
As the eyes turn blue
Technically, blue eyes are colorless. Not only are they colorless, all with blue eyes are directly related to the same ancestor.
The iris is the colored part of your eye made up of multiple layers. In the top layer called the epithelium, melanin gives the eye its color. When there is no melanin or pigment in this top layer, the eyes turn blue. The blue tint comes from light that bounces off the water from the eye and passes through the lower layers .
Looking into blue eyes is like looking at a pool full of water. When pools are filled with water, the water flows transparently. However, when the water is completely in the pool, it takes on a blue tint because it reflects light. The same goes for the color of the eyes. The color of the top layer of the iris is sharp, but the way it reflects light gives it a blue tint.
Why Most Babies Are Born With Blue Eyes And Why They Can Change Over Time
The gene responsible for the creation of melanin in our eyes can wait up to six months after birth to activate the production of melanin. If this gene is not activated, the eyes will remain blue.
Just 10,000 years ago, blue eyes did not exist. Researchers currently believe that there is an ancestor responsible for blue eyes that originated in the Black Sea region of southeastern Europe somewhere between 6,000 and 10,000 years ago .
This person with the genetic mutation had children who passed on this trait to the next generation. As this generation had children and moved on, the blue eye mutation continued to spread.
This means that everyone with blue eyes has something in common; they are all connected. Researchers have spent years trying to figure out why some of us have brown eyes while others have blue, hazel, or green eyes.
Since the genes for blue eyes are rooted in the Stone Age, there is no fear that two blue eyes will date, marry, or have children. The common ancestors of blue-eyed people go back so far in time that you are unlikely to share genetic material with anyone outside your family tree.
How did we go from a person living on the Black Sea coast with blue eyes to millions of people around the world with blue eyes in the last 10,000 years? Nobody knows. However, there are some interesting theories.
All of this may be due to the dark winters that prevail in northern Europe. In theory, blue eyes can protect you from visual impairment caused by long, dark winters.
Frequently asked questions
There are two main genes on chromosome 15, called the OCA2 and HERC2 genes, which determine the color of a person's eyes. Blue-eye color is a recessive trait, but brown-eyed parents can still produce a blue-eyed baby if both parents carry the blue-eyed genes.
Blue eyes are more concentrated in some regions than others. The best known place for its fair-skinned, blue-eyed population is Estonia, followed by Finland. Ireland and Scotland have the second largest blue-eyed populations.
Eye color is partially influenced by light, especially blue eyes, which acquire their color precisely through the entry and reflection of light from the eye. Because of this, blue eyes may look slightly different depending on the lighting conditions.