Amber eyes are the eyes that aren’t grey, brown, or hazel but have a yellowish-brown, solid gold, or copper color. Part of the eye that is colored and hence the eye has that specific color is called iris.
The specific pigment that gives a distinct color to the eye is referred to as melanin. Melanin is the brown pigment and that is the same pigment that gives color to the skin.
How much amount of melanin is present in the eye? it defines the color of the eye. The higher the amount of melanin, the darker is the color of the eye same as skin.
Reason for different eye colors
Same as the concept of skin color, according to scientists, during the ancient times when people used to live in hot environments and they had to face the direct skin lightly, then the dark-colored eyes evolved.
It is thought that the dark color of the iris is used to protect the eyes from sunlight. There are ultraviolet radiations in the sunlight that intend to damage not only the skin but also the eyes.
When the color of the iris is darker, these UV-radiations and burning sunlight don’t damage the eyes. With the advent of time, the people living in those hot areas when moved towards the areas where they had less exposure to sunlight, the eye color started to become lighter in color.
As the environment of those areas was cold and nights of such areas are usually tended to be darker, lighter eye colors helped people to watch clearly.
So, you can say that the cold environments that tend to decrease the release of melanin are the main reason for generally lighter eye colors of people who live in European countries.
But they still have the widest variety of eye color, ranging from the dark eyes to the lightest ones. The most common colors of eyes in western countries are including hazel color, green, blue, brown, and sometimes some other shades.
The main part of the eye that takes part in the coloring of the eye is the iris. Pigment – melanin – present in the iris is responsible for the color. Iris can have different colors that may include the following:
But never mix the amber color of eyes with the hazel color. The main difference between hazel and amber color is that the amber eyes have a solid golden color or a pure copper color with no shades or flecks of any other color such as blue or green that are usually present in the eyes with hazel color.
Difference between amber eyes and hazel eyes
A particular quality of hazel eyes is that the hazel eyes tend to appear as changing the color of eyes. These types of eyes are consisting of brown and green shades.
Now the question is why do the hazel eyes tend to have a pattern of changing the color? Amber eyes are the eyes that aren’t grey, brown, or hazel but have a yellowish-brown color. Part of the eye that is colored and hence the eye has that specific color is called iris.
The pattern of colors in the iris of people with hazel eyes is such that one color is near to the pupil while other colors tend to lie farther than the pupil coming closer to the iris. This kind of pattern gives a hazel color to the eyes that tend to be changing the color of eyes.
Yellowish-brown color is referred to as amber color and different eye colors exist on a color spectrum. Iris is just like a small hole or you can say a small curtain and it serves the eyeball like this.
The size of the iris is changed according to the presence or absence of light that is striking the eye. When light is sharp and brighter and falling directly on the iris, it tends to be constricted and this is called pupil constriction.
When it constricts or decreases in size, lesser light gains entry into the eye. Similarly, when the light is dim and more light is required to enter the eye for clear vision, it increases in size or gets dilated.
Iris present in every eye is characterized by having an opaque black layer and the darkness of this layer is because of a dark pigment. Darker the pigment, the more blockage of undesired amount and entry of light in the eye.
However, the front layer of the iris is the one that is responsible for the eye color. This layer is consisting of melanin – a natural pigment of the body that is responsible for the eye and skin color of an individual.
How much melanin does that layer has and what colors are present around the pupil is the basic determining factors for different eye colors?
What is melanin?
Melanin is the natural pigment that is secreted by melanocytes in the body and is responsible for the darkening of skin and eye color. Melanocytes are stimulated by sunlight and start secreting melanin.
This is the reason that people who live in hot climates tend to have a darker skin and hair color as compared to the ones who live in cold environments where they are less exposed to direct and bright sunlight.
Two types of melanin are involved in the color of eyes:
1. Characteristics of brown eyes:
Eumelanin is the type of pigment that is dark brown and is mainly responsible for the brown hues of the hair and skin.
This is the most common pigment and more than 78% of people around the globe tend to have this pigment in their irises and it’s responsible for their dark-colored eyes.
As darker colors tend to absorb the sunlight and reflect a little bit of it thus people with higher amounts of eumelanin in their eyes, hair, and skin have a brownish tendency for all these body parts.
Thus it can be said that the brown color of the eyes is due to the presence of eumelanin in the eyes.
2. Characteristics of blue eyes:
Blue is the rare color of eyes and about 9-10% of people around the world tend to have this eye color.
The reason for blue eyes is again the presence of eumelanin but this type of eyes have a lesser amount of eumelanin as compared to those having brown eyes.
Because the amount of eumelanin is lesser in the iris of people with blue eyes, the blue part of sunlight tends to reflect back and hence eyes appear to have a blue color.
The reason for blue color reflection is that the blue light has a higher potential to reflect as compared to other colors of spectra and that is the reason the sky having a blue color when the environment is clear.
As people with blue eyes have a lesser amount of eumelanin in the body thus their hair also has a lesser amount of it.
But light scattering isn’t a property of hair thus hair just looks blond and that is the most found combination of eye and hair color.
3. Characteristics of green eyes:
The third beautiful color of the eyes is green. People with green eyes are having so much attractive and appealing eyes and can mesmerize anyone with a stare at their gorgeous eyes.
Now talking about the reason for the green color of eyes, the basic reason involves another type of melanin – pheomelanin – and the scattering of light. When both of these factors are combined, a green color emerges.
The color of pheomelanin is reddish-yellow and when present in hair it gives the red color to hair.
So, there will be a combination of green eyes and reddish hair if a person has a mixture of pheomelanin and light scattering effect.
But this pigment is present in 1-2% of people and is not so common to be seen occasionally but rarely.
4. Characteristics of amber and hazel eyes:
Hazel and amber are the most attractive eye colors that give the person an entirely charming look.
Both of these colors are also a result of the combination of light scattering and the presence of both kinds of pigment in the eyes.
Hazel color is a mixture of brown color and green color because of the presence of eumelanin and pheomelanin in the eyes.
In people with hazel eyes, the pigmentation is more concentrated towards the edges of the iris and the brownish or greenish hues fill the central part.
Around the world, just 4-5% of people have this kind of eyes so the combination is rare. Both eumelanin and pheomelanin are present in normal amounts that are neither so high nor so low.
The same percentage of people are having an amber color for their eyes. Amber is yellowish-brown and hence it shows the presence of eumelanin and some pheomelanin for imparting the yellowish hue.
Role of genetics in the color of eyes
Apart from the discussion about the pigmentation of eyes, there is another wide range of discussion about genetics that defines that what color will an individual have.
Several genes define the eye color of a person and about 15 of them are studied. That is the reason the offsprings may have a different eye color than the colors of their parents. Now, how does genetic makeup affects eye color?
It doesn’t have any link with the iris or color spectrum, but genetic makeup directly affects the melanocytes – the cells that are responsible for the secretion of melanin in the body.
The amount of eumelanin or pheomelanin in the yes and hair defines the exact color of eyes, skin, or hair. Few of them have a direct impact on the growth of melanocytes while others affect the amount of them and the type of pigment that these melanocytes will produce.
Sometimes, melanocytes have not worked completely at the time of the birth of a baby and the baby may acquire a different eye color after some time when these melanin-producing cells start working properly to fill the appropriate amount of melanin in the eyes.
Gene that predicts eye color
No doubt there are more than one genes that form a genetic makeup for different traits such as the eye and hair color of the offsprings. However, one of them is most important in this regard and that gene is known as the OCA2 gene.
OCA2 gene has to deal with the translocation of melanin-producing materials in the melanocytes and a slight change in the makeup of this gene can make a higher or lesser amount of melanin.
Impairment or non-functionality of this OCA2 gene results in no pigmentation at all and the effect is known as oculocutaneous albinism.
Albino are people who are completely blonde with blonde hair, skin, eyelashes, eyebrows, and even the eyes can have pink or red eyes because they lack iris pigmentation.
This kind of eyes are very sensitive to light and much care is needed by such people to prevent eye problems when coming in direct contact with sunlight.
Percentage of eye color around the world
Different colors of eyes are present in different percentages with some of the most common while others being the rarest kind of color. Some important traits and percentages are given in the table:
|Hazel||About 5%||Less common, present in European people mostly, yellowish-brown color with the specks of green, golden or brown in the center, melanin is present at the edges of the iris|
|Amber eyes||5%||Less common eye color yet present around the world, it’s a golden-yellow or copper color without any specks, iris contains more lipochrome and less melanin, most common in species other than humans such as dogs, fish, etc.|
|Brown eyes||55-80%||Most common in Africa, South Asia, and East Asia|
|Green||2%||Common in western people, Lipochrome is present in the iris with a lesser amount of melanin|
|Blue||8-10%||Most common in European people, the reason is a genetic mutation that results in less melanin production|
There is a condition known as heterochromia in which different iris parts have different colors. This is the rarest condition in human beings and most often found in animals such as dogs. Reasons can be heredity problems, eye injury, or any other medical condition.
Determination of eye color
The determination of eye color is determined by color genes that are a part of the inheritance. Genes and alleles are the part of heredity mechanism and all the game is about dominant and recessive genes.
As each gene in the gene pair - that defines the color of the eye is coming from each parent, thus the gene that will be dominant will appear in the children.
Also, the genes that determine the melanin secretion by melanocytes take part in the determination of eye color. When the genotype is supporting the excessive release of melanin, the individual is supposed to have darker eye color and vice versa.
Melanin is the pigment that tends to absorb the light and that absorbance of light makes the look of the eye darker. When the light is not absorbed but reflected, the eyes will look lighter.
Black or brown eyes tend to have a higher amount of melanin and hence absorbance of light makes them look darker. Hazel and amber eyes have a lesser amount of melanin and hence they look lighter because of the reflection of light.
Similarly, blue-colored eyes have much lesser melanin and blue color is the one that is reflected mostly and eyes look blue.
Brown eyes have a lot of melanin, so they absorb light, which makes them dark. Hazel eyes have less melanin than brown eyes, but more than green eyes. Blue eyes have the least amount of melanin and reflect the most light.
Do health issues can affect eye color?
Several health problems can also affect eye color. For example, people with jaundice have yellowish eyes no matter if they have the natural black color of eyes. However, it’s not a permanent change in the color of the iris and it is reversible.
The white portion of the eye – known as cornea - is affected by medical conditions and those conditions are discussed here.
Anisocoria, albinism, arcus senilis, hyphema, uveitis hepatitis, and some other liver abnormalities are some main reasons that can cause a change in eye color.
Lighter eye colors are more vulnerable to get infected as compared to those who have darker eyes. The reason for this fact is that melanin is a pigment that acts as a protection for the eyes.
Logic behind amber eyes
As the topic is mainly concerned with amber eyes, so it’s important to understand that what logic is lying behind the amber color of eyes. Two main factors that determine the amber eyes are given as:
Melanin presence in the iris
Scattering of light after entering the eye
1. Melanin in the iris
Iris is the main part of the eye that is responsible for imparting color. Melanin is the pigment that is responsible for the coloring of an eye. More melanin darker is the color of the eye and vice versa.
Melanocytes are the cells in the body that are responsible for the secretion of melanin. Eumelanin and pheomelanin are two main types of melanin and different types are present in different individuals.
Genetics affects the secretion and amount of melanin in the person and hence has a major role in determining the eye color. Genes and alleles are the main parts of genetics that are performing this function.
Melanin is the complex polymer that is formed of amino acid tyrosine and that pigment is found as embedded in the iris hence imparting specific color to the eye.
Amber eye is not so common and about 5% of individuals are having this trait. According to scientists, men were living in a hot environment initially. Thus sunlight stimulated the higher amount of melanin production that was the real cause of dark eye colors.
Then with the advent of time, when human beings started moving towards western countries with a cold environment, they had to face lesser direct sunlight and their eye colors started to become lighter.
So, it can be stated that if a person is having amber eyes, he didn’t just get it by chance. There is a time of millions of years behind the creation of this mesmerizing eye color that makes a person look much more beautiful than normal brown or dark brown color.
Gene mutations take a major part in the production of this type of eye color.
2. Scattering of light rays around the iris
The second major determinant of amber eye color is the scattering of light rays when they enter the eye. Genetics is the main determinant, yet genetics alone are not taking part in imparting color to eyes.
So, you can say that it’s not the iris that is the reason for the amber eye but it’s the mechanism of scattering of rays and dispersion of light across the base of melanin. Ancestral coding is the main component that is controlling this mechanism.
Genes and amber eye
For many years, scientists who were studying the genes and genetic involvement in the determination of eye color used to believe that it’s the function of dominant and recessive genes that is responsible for different eye colors.
But it’s an old-school theory and the advancement in the genetic study has come out with certain new ideas regarding the eye color of an individual.
Modern-day science suggests that it’s not only the dominant gene that is determining the eye color but there is an influence of a recessive gene in this regard.
According to new advancements in the genetic study, a relatively new theory about eye color suggests that there are about 16 genes that influence the fact that how different eye colors will be expressed in different individuals.
How to change eye color into amber
Amber eyes have their attraction and the individuals with amber eyes have a separate kind of charm as yellowish golden or copper color for eyes is such a mesmerizing thing to look at.
If you want to know that what factors are involved in changing the eye color from another one to the amber then the most common ways are to use the lenses. However, naturally, some factors are involved in the changing of eye color.
Mechanism of light scattering
Medical conditions such as hepatitis
Health risks associated with amber eyes
Melanin is the pigment that is responsible not only for the coloration of skin, hair, and eyes but also for the protection of skin and eyes from the ultraviolet rays that are present in the sunlight.
So, if you have hazel, grey, or amber eyes, it means there is a lesser amount of melanin in your eyes and the eyes are more vulnerable to the harmful effects associated with the UV radiations.
People with amber eyes are at a greater risk to acquire ocular problems involving ocular cancer. One important example of ocular problems for amber-eyed people is intraocular melanoma. Melanoma is a kind of benign cancer and it can damage the eyesight.
Thus people with amber eyes must be careful and should be wearing sunglasses to prevent the harmful effects associated with ultraviolet radiation.
Celebrities having the amber eyes
Amber color is such a unique color of eyes that only 5% of people around the globe are having this color. Thus if anyone having this color for their eyes he looks distinct from others.
There are very few celebrities who have amber eyes and yet some people may not be agreed with our point of view considering the eye color as golden or some other color. names of those celebrities are given as:
Nikki Reed: an American actress
Evangeline Lilly: a Canadian actress
Darren Criss: an American actor, singer, and songwriter
Rochelle Aytes: an American actress and model
Joey Kern: An American actor and director
Nicole Richie: An American television actress
Frequently asked questions
There is a number of questions that are often asked by people that are irrelevant or relevant to the amber eyes. Some of them have been answered briefly:
1. What ethnicity has amber eyes?
People with amber eyes have a comparatively higher amount of melanin in their eyes than people who have brown eyes.
Hazel eyes also have a lesser amount of melanin but these eyes have green, yellow or brown specks other than the amber color.
Out of 5% of people that have amber eyes most of them belong to Asia, South America, and South Africa, etc.
2. Can a person have orange eyes?
Orange is the color that is not present in the eyes of human beings. However, some people have yellowish-brown colors that may seem like orange but they are not actually pure orange.
3. What is the second rarest eye color?
Green, hazel, and amber are the colors that are rare in human beings. Green eye color is present in 2% population and can be regarded as the second rarest eye color.
Hazel eyes and amber eyes are the colors that are present in 5% of individuals around the globe.
So, it can be said that amber eyes and hazel eyes are present as the third rarest eye color while red and violet eyes are rarest.
4. Can amber eyes look brown?
Amber eyes have a yellowish-brown, solid golden, or pure copper color. Yes, sometimes amber eyes can be mixed up with brown eyes because of the amount of melanin that is present in the iris and is responsible for eye color.
5. What is the prettiest eye color?
Although amber, green and blue eyes are regarded as attractive and gorgeous eyes with a tint of uniqueness yet hazel eyes are considered the prettiest eyes.
People with hazel eyes have an extra charm in their personality because of this unique and attractive eye color that makes them distinct among others.
Amber eyes are the eyes that aren’t among grey, brown, or hazel eyes but have a yellowish-brown color. The specific part of the eye that is colored and hence the eye has that specific color is called iris.
A specific pigment that gives a distinct color to the eye is referred to as melanin and is secreted by melanocytes in the body. Melanin is the brown pigment and that is the same pigment that gives color to the skin and hair.
How much amount of melanin is present in the eye? That amount will define the actual color of the eye. The higher the amount of melanin in the eye, the darker is the color of the eye same as happens in the case of skin.
Scattering of light after entering the eye is yet another factor that determines the color of the eye.
Hazel eyes have some specks of brown, green, or yellow colors around the central color of the eye. But amber eyes do not have any other specks but these eyes have a yellowish-brown, copper, or solid golden color.
People with amber eyes are at greater risk to acquire the eye diseases, such as ocular melanoma because of the lesser amount of melanin in the eyes. Melanin not only imparts color but also acts as a protective barrier for the eyes.
About 5% of the population has amber eyes while the brown color of eyes is the most common. Green eyes are present in 2% of people and they are the second-rarest eyes in the world. Rarest is the red or violet color that is present in only 1% of human beings while it can e present in animals.