Society

Which Eye Color is the World's Most Common?

Brown eyes are most common type found throughout the world.

Human eye color is determined by two factors - the pigmentation of the iris and the way the iris scatters the light passing through it. Genes dictate how much melanin will be present in the eye. The more the melanin, the darker the eye. However, it might seem that in some individuals, their eye color tends to change depending on the amount of light present. This is because of the double layer of iris present in the eye. The color depends on which layer reflects the light.

Which Eye Color is the Most Common in the World?

Brown Eyes

55% of the world population possess the brown eye color. The brown iris is determined by its pigmentation, and can either be dark brown or light brown. The dark brown iris results from a high concentration of melanin and is common in East Asia, Southeast Asia, and Africa. The light brown iris occurs due to low level of melanin in the iris and is common in Europe, West Asia, and the Americas. The pigmentation of the eye is a genetic condition that is passed from parents to offspring. However, parents with brown color will not necessarily produce offspring with brown eye color, as the variation of genes can result in another eye color.

Hazel Eyes

The hazel iris accounts for 8% of the world eye color. The hazel color occurs due to the combination of melanin and the Rayleigh scattering of the light. They seem to change color from green to brown and blue. In some cases, the different refraction of light in this eye may result in a multicolored iris, and the dominant color depends on the wavelength of the light entering the eye.

Blue Eyes

People with blue eye color also account for 8% of the world’s population. There is no blue pigmentation in the eye, and the blue color is therefore a result of a low level of melanin in the front layer of the iris. However, research conducted by the University of Copenhagen in 2008 revealed that a genetic mutation that occurred about 10,000 years ago led to the blue eye and that a gene that prevents the production of melanin in the eye could be passed genetically. Europe accounts for the largest percentage of people with Blue eyes while Finland tops the list of countries with the largest percentage of blue-eyed people at 89%.

Green Eyes

The amber and green eye color accounts for 5% and 2% of the population respectively. The amber color occurs due to the presence of a yellow pigment known as lipochrome. This makes the iris portray a russet/coppery tint and a yellowish/golden color that may sometimes be confused with the hazel color. Although it is uncommon in humans, it is common in birds, fish, and canines. The green color results from low level of melanin, presence of yellowish pigment lipochrome and a blue shade caused by Rayleigh scattering the light reflected. When all these factors combine the result is a green color. It is common in Central, Western, and Northern Europe.

Heterochromia

Heterochromia is a rare case where a person exhibits two different eye colors. People with blue eyes are more sensitive to light due to very low concentration of melanin and are at a greater risk of developing eye problems associated with light. Today, blue eyes are revered for being beautiful, but in ancient times people with this eye color were considered devils. Although not proven scientifically, people with brown eyes are believed to have a low tolerance to alcohol.

Which Eye Color is the Most Common in the World?

RankEye ColourEstimated Population (Percentage)
1Brown55
2Hazel8
3Blue8
4Green2
5Amber5
6Heterochromia iridum0.6

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