There is incredible diversity when it comes to human beings. Ranging all over every possible spectrum, people can be short, tall, have any number of skin tones, have any variety of possible hair types, and look so diverse that every person besides identical twins look unique. Through this incredible diversity comes some similar traits that certain people in the world share. One popular trait that groups people into different categories is eye color.
Eye color has fascinated scientists and everyday individuals alike for millennia. Considered everything from the source of all light to a true window into someone’s soul, the eyes convey our emotion, purpose, and much more. As a result, it makes a lot of sense when considering how much stock people put into eye color.
There are roughly 7 broad categories of eye color in the world. One of the rarer kinds of eye color out there are blue eyes. With less then 10% of the population in the world having blue eyes, blue eyes are considered among the most beautiful eye colors out there. However, research and personal experience has suggested that having blue eyes may not be as beneficial as once believed. With that in mind, lets take a quick moment to really examine what having blue eyes mean, as well as the pros and cons associated with having blue eyes.
The Pros Of Having Blue Eyes
Blue eyes have a number of advantages that come mostly from their rarity and appearance. In addition, more recent medical research is shining new light on some of the potential cognitive benefits associated with this eye color.
1. They Are Considered Pretty
Many people consider blue eyes to be pretty. Reflecting the sky and coming in an incredible variety of shades and intensities, no two blue eyes are exactly alike. As a result, every person with blue eyes will vary just a little bit on the spectrum between lighter gray and darker blue. Along with shining when wearing bright clothing, blue eyes often match cloths very well. Regardless, their range of color and the complexity of their color is a dominant feature of people’s faces.
2. They Are Considered Rare
While not as rare as amber/hazel at around 5% or green/gray at around 2%, blue eyes are still significantly more rare then brown and derivations of brown. Because blue eye color is associated with western culture, and many cultures place emphasis on this culture, blue eyes are seen as a benefit and something sought after. In addition, they can occasionally be seen as a sign of good luck or good fortune for the child.
In the United States, it used to be common for children to have blue eyes. In the 1950’s, more then half the population of the US had blue eyes. Now, only 1 out of every 6 babies born will have blue eyes. As the United States continues to become a more diverse place, expect the levels of blue eyes to continue to decrease.
3. Bright Colors make Eyes Appear More Blue
The intensity of blue eyes change depending on what people wear. As a result, they work well with most clothes and colors. In addition, blue eyes will become even more intense if you wear bright colors, bringing more attention to your eyes as a result. With some careful planning, it is possible to design an outfit that draws attention towards or away from your eyes depending on what you want.
4. Better At Strategic Thinking
While the research is still out, a 2007 British Study by Dr. Hamilton suggests that those with blue eye color are better at strategic thinking. This means that individuals who have blue eyes are better at carefully planning for future events, making decisions, and then acting towards those decisions in a responsible and carefully considered manner. As with any research linked to physical characteristics, it should be considered nearly speculative until further research is done to either support or reject the hypothesis.
5. Performed Better At Long Term Thinking Tasks
In similar vein to being better at strategic thinking, Dr. Hamilton also found that those with blue eye color were better at long term thinking tasks. These tasks often involved planning for and then solving problems with a far distant timeline. How this may provide benefits for people with blue eyes is still not yet known, and additional research should be conducted before any of this is taken seriously within the scientific and psychology communities.
The Cons of Having Blue Eyes
There is a great deal of subjective experience regarding the cons to having blue eyes. Most notably, this includes sensitivity to light. In addition, having blue eyes may increase your risk to certain conditions. Lets take a moment to review the cons of having blue eyes.
1. People With Blue Eyes End Up Having Red Eye In Photos
Red eye in photos can be annoying and time consuming to fix with photo editing software. Those people who have blue eyes are more likely to end up with having red eye when the photo is taken, making it more challenging to take good pictures without editing later. While not a big deal, it is small things like this that can make having blue eyes a hassle and something to consider.
2. Individuals With Blue Eyes Are More Sensitive To Light
Individuals with blue eyes often report having increased sensitivity to light. When stepping outside, it can be a challenge to look at certain objects as well as the sky. People with blue eyes often compensate by squinting more in order to shut out some of the intensity entering their eyes. With shades, this is not a particular problem.
Also, some people with blue eyes report acclimating to sunnier environments after some time. Others report feeling a painful feeling when exposed to bright lights, making it harder for them to function in sports and on the job. Rarely it can even be reported as a problem. Either way, being occasionally blinded when walking outdoors is not fun.
3. Figuring Out The Mechanics Behind Passing On Blue Eye Color Is A Challenge
A great deal of modern research has helped to shift how we consider blue eye color. Originally, it was believed that blue eye color was a recessive trait. That means that in order for parents to pass it on, both would have to carry the recessive trait and there would be a decreased chance of the child getting blue eyes over a dominant eye color.
What modern research has found is that there are several different genes that control eye color. Now it is far more complex then simple dominant and recessive eye color. However, given the eye color of the parents, it is still possible to guess. All this means is that your guess has a less likely chance of being correct.
4. Increased Risk of Age-Related Muscular Degeneration
Blue eyes are often on the lighter side of the eye color spectrum. As several researchers found in a recently published paper, having lighter eyes can increase your risk of age-related Muscular Degeneration. This also applies to those with hazel eyes, green eyes, and gray eyes.
What Does Having Blue Eyes Mean?
Blue eyes is one of several kinds of eye color that people can have, including amber, brown, gray, green, hazel, and red/violet. Gray, true black, and red/violet are incredibly rare to the point where they do not show up in percentages when calculating how many people have them, and can potentially be linked to disorders like Albinism. Of the remaining eye color types, brown is the most common with 55% of the world’s population having brown eyes. Blue is next with 8% of the world’s population, while amber, and hazel come in around 5%. Green and gray are far rarer.
Eye color is the result of several different genes all acting in tandem. While it is no longer widely believed that blue eyes are a recessive gene, many people still use the underlying science to determine if their children will have blue eyes. In addition, blue eyes do not actually have any blue pigment in them. Rather, the blue color is created by the structure of the eye and Rayleigh scattering.
With this in mind, lets now get into the pros an cons of having blue eyes. While the science is still out there, many interesting discoveries are being linked to eye color. In addition, society in general has placed special significance in blue eye color.
Where Does That Leave Us?
Eye color, like many other factors that determine who we are, is to an extent dependent on our parents and the chance that goes into our genetic makeup when we are conceived. While considered pretty, rare, and potentially even a sign of long-term thinking, blue eyes also come with a series of cons including sensitivity to light, red eye in photos, and even increased risk of certain degenerative diseases.
That being said, there is significantly more variation between people of the same eye color then there are between eye colors. What this means is that any person is capable of doing something regardless of their eye color. While it may be more challenging, it is still possible for people with any eye color to have the reported benefits associated with blue eyes, just like it is possible for any eye color to suffer from the cons of having blue eyes. While an interesting way to break people into groups, ultimately eye color comes down to color, and little else.