What color are your eyes exactly? | Eye Doctors of Washington (2024)

Posted by Eye Doctors of Washington in General Eye Care

When someone wants to enhance their vision, they may try contact lenses or seek out LASIK eye surgery. But what if they want to change the color of their eyes? People have long been fascinated with eye color; after all, eyes come in a wide range of shades. Exactly what color are your eyes? Hazel-ish? Blue-gray-green? Blue with brown spots? Green with gray spots? Most of us are taught in high school biology that two blue-eyed parents are guaranteed to have blue-eyed kids, but it’s not that straightforward. The genetics of eye color is very complicated. All blue eyes are not created equal because eye color is determined by many different gene combinations, as seen in the image below:

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The colored part of the eye is called the iris. The iris has pigmentation that determines the eye color. Irises are classified as being one of six colors: amber, blue, brown, gray, green, hazel, or red. Often confused with hazel eyes, amber eyes tend to be a solid golden or copper color without flecks of blue or green typical of hazel eyes.

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What color are your eyes exactly? | Eye Doctors of Washington (3)Blue eyes have a low level of pigment present in the iris. Recently, scientists announced that everyone with blue eyes is related! Because of various racial groups intermarrying, blue eyes, which are generally recessive, are becoming rarer and rarer. (Note: I recently asked my blue-eyed in-laws how they produced my amber-eyed spouse, incorrectly telling them it was genetically impossible. Lesson #381: it’s not funny to suggest your mother-in-law was unfaithful.)
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Brown is the most common eye color. Individuals with brown eyes have more melanin present, and over half of the people in the world have brown eyes.

What color are your eyes exactly? | Eye Doctors of Washington (5)Gray eyes may be called “blue” at first glance, but they tend to have flecks of gold and brown. And they may appear to “change color” from gray to blue to green depending on clothing, lighting, and mood (which may change the size of the pupil, compressing the colors of the iris).

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Green is the least common eye color, but it is found most frequently in northern and central Europe. I have always incorrectly called this color eye hazel!

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Hazel eyes mostly consist of shades of brown and green. Much like gray eyes, hazel eyes may appear to “change color” from green to light brown to gold. Individuals whose eyes appear to be one color closest to the pupil, another color a little farther our, and another color around the edge of the iris are likely to have hazel eyes.

What color are your eyes exactly? | Eye Doctors of Washington (8)Red eyes do exist. “Red?” you say. “Yes, red,” I say, although we often call them pink. Picture white bunnies with pink eyes. What you’re actually seeing in these rabbits and in albinos is the blood vessels behind the iris. Because there is so little melanin in the eyes, there is nothing to conceal the blood vessels hard at work. These red eyes are different from the red eyes you sometimes see in photographs when a flash is used. The red you see in pictures is a reflection of the flash off of the back of the eye, which is filled with blood vessels.

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If you’re dissatisfied with your eye color for whatever reason, there are always colored contacts. Just be sure to get a prescription for them from your eye doctor at Eye Doctors of Washington. Don’t buy them online or borrow them from a friend—you’d just be begging for an eye infection.

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What color are your eyes exactly? | Eye Doctors of Washington (2024)


What color were Washington's eyes? ›

Washington's blue eyes have enlarged pupils, which hover above the center of the eyes, with white areas suggesting reflection; they appear to gaze directly at the viewer.

What is your true eye color? ›

Your eye color refers to the color of each eye's iris, a double-layered ring of muscle tissue around your pupil that controls how much light enters your eyes. The color of your iris depends on a few different factors between it and other parts of your eye.

What color are your eyes supposed to be? ›

The vast majority of people in the world have brown eyes. The second most common color is blue, but people can also have green, gray, amber, or red eyes. Some people have eyes that are different colors than each other.

What color were Thomas Jefferson's eyes? ›

Jefferson's ... eye, hazel." 1948. Dumas Malone, biographer. "His eyes were hazel, though often described in later years as blue."

What color are Barack Obama's eyes? ›

Barack Obama
Member of political partyDemocratic Party
LenyolAfrican Americans
DiinaProtestantism, Congregational churches, congregationalist polity, United Church of Christ
Eye colorbrown
41 more rows

What did George Washington actually look like? ›

Since there were no photographs in George Washington's day, we cannot know exactly what he looked like. He had “a large and straight nose,” wrote someone who knew him in 1760. “His face is long rather than broad, with high round cheekbones.

What is the prettiest eye color? ›

When broken down by gender, men ranked gray, blue, and green eyes as the most attractive, while women said they were most attracted to green, hazel, and gray eyes. Despite brown eyes ranking at the bottom of our perceived attraction scale, approximately 79% of the world's population sports melanin-rich brown eyes.

Do purple eyes exist? ›

Although the deep blue eyes of some people such as Elizabeth Taylor can appear purple or violet at certain times, "true" violet-colored eyes occur only due to albinism. Eyes that appear red or violet under certain conditions due to albinism are less than 1 percent of the world's population.

What eye color is rarest? ›

Gray: The Rarest Eye Color
Eye ColorU.S. PopulationWorld Population
Gray and otherLess than 1%Less than 1%
Blue27%8% to 10%
1 more row
Jan 1, 2024

Can brown eyes turn hazel? ›

People who had deep brown eyes during their youth and adulthood may experience a lightening of their eye pigment as they enter middle age, giving them hazel eyes.

Are grey eyes rare? ›

Without a doubt, grey eyes are one of the rarest eye colors in the world. But just how rare are grey eyes? We can estimate that less than 1% of people in the U.S. have them. Therefore, it's fair to say that the chances you've seen natural grey eyes in person are incredibly slim.

Are green eyes rare? ›

Only about 2 percent of people in the world have naturally green eyes. Green eyes are a genetic mutation that results in low levels of melanin, though more melanin than in blue eyes.

What color were Benjamin Franklin's eyes? ›

His hair was blond or light brown, his eyes grey, full, and steady, his mouth wide and humorous with a pointed upper lip. His clothing was as clean as it was plain. Though he and others say he was hesitant in speech, he was prompt in action."

What color eyes did Andrew Jackson have? ›

Tall and lanky with red hair and piercing blue eyes, Jackson was known for his fiery temper, fearlessness, playful personality and daring spirit.

What color are hazel eyes? ›

Hazel eyes are generally a combination of brown, green, and gold. Sometimes, blue or even amber can make an appearance in hazel eyes, too. Often, hazel-colored eyes have a different hue around the pupil than on the eye's outer rim. This gradient of color can give hazel eyes a “sunburst” effect.

What was Washington's ethnicity? ›

The Washington family is an American family of English origins that was part of both the British landed gentry and the American gentry.

What traits did Washington have? ›

His driving ambition, love of detail, patience, determination, sense of responsibility and other conspicuous traits that made him the person that he was are related to the temperament with which he was born.

What color was chosen by Washington to represent the army? ›

Washington eventually ordered his army to wear blue coats and white waistcoats to contrast with the British red coats. Uniforms ultimately would vary due to material shortages throughout the war.


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