Apparently, Everyone Has Brown Eyes

Emily Baines
So, blue eyes are technically brown and it’s not just another “the dress”

Well, this is fun news: those of you who think you have blue eyes, guess again. Turns out, they’re actually brown because of the pigment melanin.

According to Dr. Gary Heiting, a licensed optometrist and senior editor of All About Vision, melanin — which determines the color of our hair and skin — plays a part in eye color. As he told CNN:

“Everyone has melanin in the iris of their eye, and the amount that they have determines their eye color.”

According to Heiting, there’s only one real “shade” of melanin and that "shade" is brown. And the more melanocytes (miniature melanin cells) in your iris, the darker your eye color. Of course, light also plays a part: Melanin absorbs light, so the more melanin there is, the less light will be absorbed by your eye. In other words: Brown-eyed people have more melanin, less light. “Blue-eyed” people have the opposite problem, Heiting explained. 

They can’t absorb as much light, so more light is reflected out of their eye. This is known as “scattering,” and the light reflects back on shorter wavelengths. And guess what? Those shorter wavelengths correspond to a color: blue.

A lot of brown and green eyed folks were born with blue eyes — and this explains why! The melanin in babies's eyes is still forming and can darken over time. “As a baby develops, more melanin accumulates in the iris,” Heitling exlplained. And a parents’s eye color doesn’t necessarily determine their offspring’s eye color. Eye color is a polygenic trait, which means that multiple genes determine it. So you blue eyed folk might have blue eyed babies, or you could have a brown eyed one. Only time will tell.

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