How Rare are Green Eyes?

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green eye color

Eye color can be as different as the color variations that one can see in hair or skin color, nevertheless, the eye color that one observes can also be quite unique. Since the expression of eye color is directly related to genetics and the production of melanin pigments, each and every iris in the world, and its various gradients of color shades, is as unique as finger prints. These eye colors can range from brown to blue, and virtually anything in between, including green eyes. When considering the potential color variations that can result, how rare is the incidence of green eyes? To answer this question let's first gain a better understanding of the factors that contribute to defining eye color, and find out why green eyes are so unique and special.

What Defines Green Eye Color?

Genetic Inheritance of Eye Color

There are two major genetic contributors that directly impact the color outcome for a person's eye. These two factors are genetic inheritance, and the genetic production of melanin pigments. Genetic science teaches us that brown eyes are the most dominant colored eyes, which is why more than half of the world's population has brown eyes. This is because darker colored eyes are usually considered to be the more dominant eye colors. However, color dominance (as illustrated below) does not necessarily equate to more inherited expressions of that color. In fact, although green eyes are darker, and considered more dominant than blue eyes, they are actually more statistically rare in the overall population.

dominant eye colors

Melanin Pigments and Eye Color

The second genetic factor relates to the production of melanin. Melanin is a dark brown pigment that can be found in hair, skin and the iris of the eye. This pigment defines color, where larger quantities of the pigment results in darker colors like brown, while fewer pigments render greens and blues. In fact, this is the very reason why babies' eyes are blue upon birth. The melanin pigment that defines eye color is not immediately produced at birth, and as a result blue eye color prevails. As the production of the pigment increases over the subsequent weeks, their eye colors will begin to change and become progressively darker in tone, depending on their genetically expected color.

eye color melanin

So How Rare are Green Eyes?

According to Contact Lens King, green eyes only occur in 2 percent of the population, whereas blue eyes make up approximately 5%, and brown eyes 55%. Although many people wrongly identify hazel eyes as green there is a distinct difference between the two. For instance, unlike hazel eyes, which are colored with hints of golden green around the iris, green eyes are more uniform throughout the iris. It is also important to note that although green eyes only make up approximately 2% of eye colors worldwide there are geographical locations where they are more common. As an example, observers have shown that green eyes make up as much as 16% of European's with Celtic or Germanic lineages.

Eye color is an attribute that contributes to establishing our identities. This may range from our identities recorded in government issued identification, such as drivers licenses, to social media profiles. Although each individual eye color is unique in its own right, those with green eyes are considered to have been graced with some of the rarest and most beautiful eye colors in the world.

Contact Lens King Blog | Rarest Eye Colors in the World
Contact Lens King Blog | Most Common Eye Colors in the World


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