“You have your parent’s eyes.” So goes the old adage, which celebrates the notion that children will always resemble at least one of their biological parents. So if you happen to be the bearer of big blue eyes, shouldn’t your wee one also inherit them? Conversely, if both you and your partner are of the brown-eyed persuasion, wouldn’t it logically follow that your children will be too?
Of course, given the complexity of genetics, it’s not that simple . Surprisingly, two brown-eyed parents can have a child with blue eyes, according to an article published by the University of Delaware. Additionally, two blue-eyed parents can give birth to a brown-eyed baby.
So what’s the reasoning? In a nutshell, eye color is not determined by one single allele or recessive gene. Rather, it’s determined by several different genes, as well as the interplay between them. So don’t be surprised if your child has eyes that don’t resemble either parent – it’s just how genetics work.
Are blue eyes more sensitive to light than others?
Everyone needs vitamin D in their bodies, according to a journal article in Environmental Health Perspectives, so it’s important to get a little sunlight on a regular basis. But depending on the color of your skin, you have to be varying degrees of careful when you step outside, lest you wind up with a sunburn, according to the American Cancer Society. So if you’re light-skinned, you’re more at risk, though everyone should take precautions when they go out, regardless of skin color.
Just as you have to be careful with your skin when you’re outside, you also have to protect your eyes accordingly, especially if they’re light-colored. “Clinically speaking, people with blue or light-colored irises do tend to be more light-sensitive,” ophthalmologist Ruth Williams explained in an interview with Everyday Health. “This is likely due to the sparsity of light-absorbing pigment in the eye.” That means you should never leave your sunglasses at home, especially if you have blue eyes.
People with blue eyes may have an increased risk of cancer
Although having blue eyes (or light-colored eyes) is considered quite beautiful, there is one disadvantage that comes along with this phenotype. Unfortunately, those pretty eyes mean you’re more susceptible to cancer, according to an article in Everyday Health. Specifically, fair-eyed folks are more at risk of developing melanoma of the uvea (that’s the middle layer of your eye) than their brown-eyed counterparts. Yikes!
Fortunately, there’s a pretty simple way to protect your precious peepers from harmful UV rays, according to ophthalmologist Dr. Ruth Williams. “People with light iris color need to be diligent in wearing UV-protected sunglasses,” she advised. The other good news is that melanoma of the uvea is pretty rare, and only six out of one million people are diagnosed with it annually. Phew!
Once again, taking precautions with your skin in the sunlight is also important, as fair-eyed people are also more prone to getting skin cancer. Be careful out there!
Blue eye color can impact your vision
It might sound a little bit crazy to some, but your eye color can have an impact on the quality of your vision, according to optometrist Richard L. Ison. “Because of the lack of pigment in lighter color eyes – like blue or green eyes as opposed to brown – you get a lot more unwanted light and that can create glare problems,” he shared in an article in ESPN. Who knew?
That’s why baseball player Josh Hamilton decided to don a pair of colored contact lenses during the day to reduce the glare and improve his vision. “I’ve never worn contact lenses in my life and I really would like to see the ball in the daytime,” he revealed. “So therefore I’m trying any means possible to do that.” Given that his stats were better at night, he wanted to see if this approach would help him improve in the daytime. Fortunately for Hamilton, he said it did.