There’s more to eye color than meets the…eye. For one, contrary to what you may have learned in grade school, there’s more than a single gene involved, which is why your specific hazel hue can look so vastly different from your daughter’s, says Rachel Bishop, MD, chief of the consult service section of the National Eye Institute. Though as with skin pigmentation, she says, you’ll see eye color similarities among families and ethnicities (dark eyes are more prevalent in an African population than a Scandinavian one, for example).
What’s more, whether they’re brown, hazel, green, blue, gray, or somewhere in between, your eyes can tell you more about yourself than you might expect—and not just in “the eyes are the windows to the soul” kind of way. Your eye colour could dictate your risk for certain diseases or even predict how your body handles booze.
A fogginess appearing over the pupil of the eye is a common sign of cataracts, a clouding of the vision common with aging. And people with dark eyes are at greater risk: A 2000 study published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology found that dark-eyed people had a 1.5 to 2.5 times greater risk of cataracts. Protecting your eyes from ultraviolet raysis one of the crucial steps of cataract prevention for anyone, but the researchers recommend dark-eyed sunbathers take particular caution. (Wearing sunnies and a hat with a brim is a good place to start!)
People with dark eyes may be more sensitive to alcohol.
If your eyes are black or brown, you may drink less than your blue- or green-eyed friends, according to a 2001 study published in Personality and Individual Differences.