• Question: Why do people have different coloured eyes? Is it to cope with varying amounts of sunlight in different parts of the world?

    Asked by sarryrocks to Cat, Daz on 24 Jun 2011.
    • Photo: Cat O'Connor

      Cat O'Connor answered on 24 Jun 2011:

      Hi Sarryrocks, another great question!!

      Yup, i think you are dead right! It’s the same reason why we have different colour skins too and hair of course!

      Take me for example, I am paler than pale and I have blue eyes. The pale skin and the blue in my eyes are both caused by having low amounts of the pigement melanin in different parts of my body!

      Melanin is an excellent photoprotectant which means it absorbs harmful UV-radiation from the sun and transforms the energy into harmless heat. This prevents the indirect DNA damage that is responsible for the formation of malignant melanoma and other skin cancers and also prevents some amount of damage to the eyes…but we still need to wear sunglasses!

      So it looks like my body was made to live in places with very little sunlight, boo 🙁

      What about you Sarryrocks? What sort of country are you made to live in?


    • Photo: Darren Braddick

      Darren Braddick answered on 24 Jun 2011:

      Hi Sarryrocks!

      Well the reason why you have different colours is down to genetics. It usually depends on what your parents had, and some colours are dominant. I think brown eyes are dominant, so if you parents have this, you probably will too! I think blue colour is recessive which means both parents need it.. Is that true for you Cat?

      Some colours look amazing. Did you know that the precise pattern of each eye is virtually different – like fingerprints? You can use eye patterns to identify people and some airports and places use this for security.

      As for the sunlight theory, it is possible, because the same is true for human skin colour! It’s an excellent question, because it considers the links between very different things (colour of eyes and the level of sunlight).

      But, no matter what colour your eyes, you should never look at the sun directly, as it causes bad damage to the eyes no matter what colour you have!

      I hope this helps answer your question,