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Eye colour: what does it say about your health?

eye colour
© cocoparisienne et auricadina / Pixabay
Eye colour: what does it say about your health?
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The iris is the coloured part of the eye. Each eye colour is linked to genetic indicators which correspond to easily recognizable DNA sequences found on specific chromosomes. By knowing the precise position of these sequences, we can study the correlation between eye colour and the predisposition to certain diseases.  Read on to find out how the colour of your eyes can affect your health. 

Do you have dark eyes?

– A greater risk of suffering from cataract

Published in the American Journal of Ophtalmology, a study revealed that eye pigmentation could influence the chances of suffering from a cataract. Cataracts is an eyesight problem caused by your crystalline lens clouding over.  Eye opacification is inherent with age and seems to be more prevalent and common in people with dark eyes. People with dark eyes have supposedly 1.5 to 2.5 times the risk of being affected by this problem. 

Nevertheless the study concludes that you can prevent eyesight deterioration by protecting your eyes in ultraviolet light and sunlight in day to day life.  If you have dark eyes try to avoid exposing your eyes in direct sunlight by wearing sunglasses.

– An increased risk of Vitiligo

A second study, published in the Nature Genetics journal, researched the link between skin problems and eye colour.  Vitiligo is when white patchy marks appear on our skin.  Of the 3000 Caucasian volunteers that took park in the study that were affected by vitiligo almost half had brown eyes in comparison to less that a third who had blue eyes.  Researchers came to the conclusion that there must be a link between these two factors.  They believe that the gene involved in eye pigmentation could affect the likelihood of this dermatological condition. 

Have you got light coloured eyes?

– There is a greater risk of suffering from skin cancer

Also discussing the link between eye colour and skin problems, another study published in the same journal concluded that people blue or light coloured eyes are more predisposed to skin cancer. Having light skin and eye colouring appears to be associated with an increased number of melanomas, which can produce particularly dangerous skin cancers.

– Greater risk of becoming dependent on alcohol 

According to a study published in the American Journal of Medical Genetics: Neuropsychiatric Genetics Part B there is a link between the genes which are responsible for eye colour and alcohol dependency. People with darker eyes apparently have an lower tolerance to alcohol than people with light coloured eyes.  One possible theory suggests that because people with dark eyes are more sensitive to the effects of alcohol, they will drink less alcohol than people with clear eyes.

– Are light coloured eyes more sensitive to light?

Contrary to popular belief, it has been proven that there is no link between eye colour and sensitivity to light. The iris protects the eye from UV light but it is not the piment  in the iris which preserves the eye from strong, sun glares but a second, opaque layer of the iris which is invisible from the outside.  

Whatever eye colour you have, everyone is sensitive to light so we should all protect ourselves from strong rays of light!

SourcesNature Genetics (1) (2) ; American Journal (1) (2)

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