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What Your Eye Color May Say About Your Health

Posted by Eye Specialists of Louisiana on Wed, Feb 27, 2019 @ 05:16 PM

AdobeStock_106404672Most of us try to keep our health in check by exercising, maintaining a well-balanced diet and sleeping an adequate amount per night, but despite all of our efforts, there are some conditions to which each of us are genetically predisposed.  Sometimes, we can pinpoint these by reviewing our family history, but that isn’t the only clue into our potential health risks.  Did you know that your eye color can reveal abnormalities your body is predisposed to as well? Research suggests that eye color is linked to risks of certain diseases, blood sugar levels and even how your body reacts to alcohol.


What Brown Eyes Say About Your Health

Those with darker eyes are 1.5 to 2.5 times more likely to develop cataracts - a cloudy appearance over the pupil - than those with lighter eyes, according to a study published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology. If you have black or brown eyes, make sure to take the necessary precautions to protect your eyes, like investing in high-quality sunglasses and avoiding excess sun exposure between noon and 3:00 PM.

Brown eyes could even be connected to how well you can hear.  Studies show that in loud places, brown-eyed people experience less hearing loss than blue-eyed people. While we aren’t certain why this is the case, it may be due to the greater amount of melanin that brown-eyed people have, both in their eyes and in their ears.

Furthermore, people with brown eyes tend to have a slightly shorter reaction time than those with lighter eyes suggests a study done at the University of Louisville, giving those with darker eyes a bit of an athletic advantage. Lighter eyes tend to be more sensitive to light, which is the most likely cause of longer reaction times. 

What Blue Eyes Say About Your Health

Research done at Georgia State University suggests that those with light eyes consume significantly more alcohol than those with darker eyes. This may mean that darker-eyed people are more sensitive to alcohol and therefore consume it less frequently. However, another study done at the University of Vermont concluded that those with European descendancy (i.e., those with lighter eyes - especially blue) had a much greater dependency on alcohol when compared to other nationalities. 

Lighter eyes have also been linked to a higher pain tolerance. A 2014 study at the University of Pittsburgh showed that women with lighter eyes experienced lower levels of pain during childbirth and were less prone to postpartum depression. Women with darker eyes also appeared to be more dependent on pain medication. This is most likely due to a genetic link that controls both eye color and pain tolerance.

What Heterochromia Says About Your Health

If you are one of the rarities with a blue or green patch in your brown eyes (heterochromia), this may be a symptom of Waardenburg Syndrome - a genetic condition that can cause hearing loss and changing in pigmentation of the hair, skin and eyes. It can also be linked to unique facial features like wide-set eyes. Those with this syndrome sometimes even have patches of differently colored hair.

Comprehensive eye exams assess your vision while allowing optometrists to gain a close-up look into the inside of your eyes. The blood vessels, veins and nerves of the eye can reveal deeper details about your overall health.  Remember, it’s all connected! The ophthalmologists at Eye Specialists of Louisiana can help you identify and appropriately address any issues with your vision or eye health.  Simply contact our office to request an appointment.

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