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Facts About People With Green Eyes

Updated on September 6, 2017
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Edmund is a biostatistician with over 10 years of experience in clinical research. He loves to study human-inherited traits.

While I have lots of friends, only one has green eyes. Her eyes are the first things you notice when you first meet her. Green eyes are among the rarest eye colors in the world. However, they are common in some countries. Lots of people in Iceland have green eyes. In fact, over 80% of Icelanders have either green or blue eyes.

A lot of people in Iceland have green eyes
A lot of people in Iceland have green eyes

Scientists used to think that eye color is a simple genetic trait. They now believe it is a complex one. This means that the genetic trait for eye color is determined not by a single pair but by multiple pairs of genes, possibly interacting with each other.

Eye Pigments of People with Green Eyes

Before we dive into why some eyes appear green, let’s get one thing straight. There are no green pigments in the eye!

Let’s now define a couple of things. The part of your eye with the color is called the Iris. This is the part that surrounds the pupil. The iris controls the dilation and constriction of your pupils.

If you shine a light into someone’s eye, his or her iris will contract reducing the size of the pupil. This function of the iris is important in regulating the amount of light that enters the eye.

Meet Hagop. He is having fun dilating and constricting his pupils.

Eye color depends very much on the amount of pigment on the surface of the iris. It also depends on the way light is scattered inside the eye.

Two pigments involved in eye color are Melanin and Lipochrome.

Melanin is a brown pigment that is also responsible for the color of your skin and hair. Lipochrome is a yellowish pigment responsible for the golden tone in amber eyes.


Why do Green Eyes Appear Green

Before melanin kicks in, the iris usually has a bluish tint to it. This is the reason why most babies are born with blue eyes. Melanin starts creeping into the eye as the baby grows up, usually as from the sixth month after birth.

No melanin
No melanin | Source
Very little melanin
Very little melanin | Source
A bit more melanin
A bit more melanin | Source

Blue-eyed individuals have very little melanin and lipochrome on their irises. The blue eye color is due to a low melanin concentration and the way light is scattered in the iris. This phenomenon of “scattering of light in the iris” is known as Rayleigh scattering.

Rayleigh scattering happens in the presence of very little melanin. Longer wavelengths of light pass straight through the eye and are absorbed at the back of the eye. On the other hand, shorter wavelengths (otherwise known as blue wavelengths) are reflected and randomly scattered by the turbid layer of the iris. The blue wavelengths are responsible for the blue hue of the iris. This doesn’t work for brown eyes because they have more melanin. Melanin absorbs a lot light.

People with green eyes have a bit more melanin and even more lipochrome on their irises than people with blue eyes. The green color is from a combination of a blue hue from Rayleigh scattering and “yellow” from the yellow pigment (lipochrome).

The higher the melanin concentration in the iris, the darker the eye color will to be. People with brown eyes have high concentrations of melanin on their irises. So, you all with “dark” eyes have blue ones underneath all your pigments.

Personality Traits Associated with Green Eyes

Here is an interesting theory you may have already heard about. It is completely based on observation.

People often associated certain eye colors with specific personality traits. Some say that people with blue eyes tend to be kind and sweet.

Quick Poll

What personality traits would you associated with people with green eyes?

See results

If it is true that people often associated certain eye colors with specific personality traits, then you could wear contacts to alter the way people perceive you. Maybe you should try some blue contacts. It might make you look a little ‘sweeter’.

Genetic Determination for Green Eyes

We used to believe that eye color is a simple genetic trait. For example, it was thought that two parents with blue eyes can never have an offspring with brown eyes. This has been repeatedly shown to be wrong.

Eye color is highly heritable in humans
Eye color is highly heritable in humans | Source

Scientists now believe that eye color is a polygenic trait. That is, a complex trait determined by multiple genes.

There are several genes thought to play a role in human pigmentation.

When it comes to genes for melanin production, one that stands out is OCA2. Scientists believe this gene is probably one of the most important genes in determining the amount of melanin to be produced in the iris.

The OCA2 gene contains instructions for melanin production. You may look at it like a recipe for melanin production. As we all know, sometimes there is an unexpected change in part of a gene. This is called Mutation. It results in an altered or damaged gene. Some mutations are severe, such as "growing an extra leg". Other mutations are unnoticeable, such as those for green or blue eyes.

Mutation in the OCA2 gene can cause melanin production to shutdown completely, such as in albinism. Or it could be less severe, only reducing the production down to a minimum, such as for green or blue eyes.

Do you have something to share about people with Green Eyes? Please tell us in the comment section below.

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      Karen Snow Foster 4 days ago

      I have green eyes, my personality is very passionate, love Animals and a hard worker. My mom also has green eyes slightly different shade. Interestingly her parents have blue eyes. My dad has hazel eyes. I think genetics is so fascinating.

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      Cathy Jackson 7 days ago

      I have green eyes and so does male child.the girl has brown eyes.his father had changing colors and also him. My dad had changing bwn/ grn. If you ever need to do some investigation studies . I would b glad to participate. Thanking you in advance.

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      Mary Ann Uschak 11 days ago

      I have green eyes and I love them!

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      Kathie 2 weeks ago

      I have green eyes and blonde hair

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      Author

      Edmund Custers 6 weeks ago

      Hello Maria, several people have made similar comments in my articles. And my answer to this is that eye color is a very complex trait that allows for a wide range of possibilities. So it is definitely possible for you to have your eyes. Maybe people keep asking because you have a rare eye/skin color combo. It is hard to say without actually seeing your eyes, but I imagine you get a lot of compliments on them. Thanks for your comment.

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      Maria 6 weeks ago

      I have green eyes and of Hispanic decent. My father has blue eyes and very light skin, however, my mother has dark brown eyes and olive skin. I also have olive skin and people always think I'm using cintact bc they can't believe Hispanic people can have green eyes. Why?

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      Jmello72 6 weeks ago

      I'm the only one in my family to have green eyes since my great grandfather on my moms side. He was Portuguese. My eye color is a medium army green with a very dark limbal ring.

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      Edmund Custers 2 months ago

      Hello Green/Grey Eyes, thank you for your comment. I am not sure what magnitude of color change you experience. However, similar to the comments and responses already given above, it could be one of several factors, such as the lighting of your room or maybe the color of your dress. Maybe do a little experiment to check this out next time to notice the change. Thanks!

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      Christylynngriffin@gmail.com 2 months ago

      My green eyes seem to glow when I cry.

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      GREEN EYES, GREY EYES 2 months ago

      My eyes are green... But sometimes they turn grey. Can you tell me why?

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      Timujiin 2 months ago

      my father is black, greek and american indian. my mother, full german blood. i have pretty green eyes for how dark my skin is...granted. my mother and brother both have green eyes. more crystal than mine though. i also read that only 2% of the worlds population has green eyes.....cheers to us =)

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      Haylie 2 months ago

      I have green eyes but sometimes they look blue especially in the light

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       2 months ago

      I have green eyes and I always find that green eyed people r usually attracted to other green eyed people especially if one of their parents had green eyes and I always seem to have a different perspective on the world then everyone else I don't think green eyed people are more intelligent but just have very different questions and thoughts then other eye colors

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      Linda stephen 3 months ago

      I have light green eyes with very small pupils I love having green eyes

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      LayLay 3 months ago

      I have green eyes with a hint of blue in them

      my mum has pure green eyes but my dad has dark brown

      my sister rose has pure blue

      and my other 2 sisters have brown.

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      Unicorn 4 months ago

      My eyes are green with yellow around pupil and go dark blue on the edges

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      My eyes got poked out! 5 months ago

      My eyes got poked out

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      Akasha 6 months ago

      Lacey

      I too have green eyes with large pupils that seem to stay that way

      No not on drugs

      Nor any brain injury- they've always been that way and because of it highly resemble a cat's eyes ;)

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      SoChloe 6 months ago

      My crush has green eyes and is super mysterious

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      Kayla=CONFUSED DANK MEME 6 months ago

      my eye color is a mixture of green,blue,dark green,and yellow

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      Deborah 7 months ago

      I have green eyes with a blue/gray rim around them and at times a yellow or yellowish/brown sun flower shape around the Pupil, hoe ever my eyes lighten and turn a grayish/greenish/blue when out in direct sun light, one eye can change and the other can stay the same if half my face is in the sun and the other half in the shade. I was told this is called chameleon eyes, unlike my mom who had Hazel eyes mine never turn brown, my color is very vibrant when outside, my friends joked my eyes could glow in the dark lol.

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      Author

      Edmund Custers 7 months ago

      Hello Florax, like I have written in some of my articles, eye color is a very complex trait. There several genes involved, which allows for several possibilities. Hence, it is indeed possible for you to be the only green-eyed person in your house. Thank you for reading!

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      Flora x 7 months ago

      Both my parents have blue eyes and so do my sisters have blue eyes ,

      No one else I am blood related to has green eyes .

      Why is this ?

      Also do these eyes count as green

      -

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      Penny 7 months ago

      I have green eyes but,my mom has

      blue and my dad has brown but

      he has yellow dots in his eye that you can only see in the light

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      Aria 7 months ago

      I have half green and blue eyes

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      Dagaan 8 months ago

      One thing for sure, people with green eyes sure do like their green eyes as you'll see below! Both my parents and both my sister and brother have the exact same color of green eyes. I've always thought green eyed people had a different way of thinking and have wondered if the color of eyes determines the role one plays in society - to heal, provoke, calm, inspire. For years I fantasized getting a huge number of green eyed people in one room and see what happened! Maybe the napkins would catch fire! I once met a man with green eyes who thought we originated from Saturn's moon Titan! 50% of the people abducted by aliens in a poll of 1400 abductees had 'em. We are the Green Flame! Go forth my brethren and blink!

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      ally 8 months ago

      my eyes are green and my dads are blue and my moms are brown and no one else in my family has green eyes than me other than my sister whos are more hazelish

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      Edmund Custers 8 months ago

      Hi Cassadra, it's probably not green. But it's hard to say without actually seeing it. Thank you for commenting. I hope you enjoy the article.

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      cassandra 8 months ago

      I have blue eyes with gold in the center.Is that considered green?

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      Isa 9 months ago

      My mom has hazel eyes, dad had light blue, brother and I green. My husband has hazel eyes. My oldest daughter has an eye colour we can't tell which is graysish, greenish, blue and youngest daughter has light blue eyes

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      Autumn Loggins 10 months ago

      I actually have green eyes and I tend to be the living calculator and dictionary in our family, I also am the song bird and love to draw and build. My family Has a very large count of brown eyes on my mom and dads side of the family, they say we are of Irish origin and I have looked up and read about the ways we get our eye color and I thought I understood but not so much anymore. I just want to know how exactly I got the color of my eyes, if almost all of my family has brown eyes, except for people who married into our family?

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      Cameryn 10 months ago

      I really don't know what my eye colors are but all my family members say I have green eyes so I guess ill take their word.

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      Grace 11 months ago

      I used to have my eyes change colors but after I got a black eye they stopped at the color they were.Green, but it has brownish tint in the very middle and I love them that way.But I want them more green

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      Rhonda 11 months ago

      My mom has baby blue eyes dad has brown.brother and sister have brown. I have 5 kids 4 have light brown eyes 1 has baby blue like my mom and all 7 of my grandchildren have brown eye. My eyes used to change color. When I was born they were gray. Then changed with my mood and the weather, they went from gray,blue and green. My eyes stopped on what I call cat green.

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      Ashey 15 months ago

      well, im green eyed, and both my parent had brown eyes... and i live in the us. o.O

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      Green eyed Lady 18 months ago

      I read somewhere years ago that green eyed people have a chemical imbalance. I have green eyes and do have a chemical imbalance. Coincidence?

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      Author

      Edmund Custers 19 months ago

      That is interesting Ck, you just gave us another example of how complex genetics can be. I hope you enjoyed reading this page. Thank you for stopping by.

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      Ck 19 months ago

      I have green eyes with brown in the middle and they get lightee green in the winter. My mother has brown eyes and is British, my father has blue eyes and is Russian. My sister has brown.

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      Natalie 21 months ago

      I have 4 sons 18 16 11 and 5 im white blonde with blue eyes and my husband is mixed race with brown eyes my 2 sons who is 18 and 11 have blue eyes and my 16 year old has blue/ grey eyes and my 5 year old has blue/ green eyes and both of my sons eye colour do sometimes change colour and all my sons were born with black hair but now all my sons hair went blonde my older sons hair r going abit darker now but my 5 year old is like a white blonde who has blue/ green eyes it just amazing how different and unique

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      Rah Shaw- 23 months ago

      My eyes are green. And I have been told by different people that when they talk to me they get lost in my eyes. And they will say, "and what were we talking about? "

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      Nevaeh 23 months ago

      My eyes are blue but they change color in the sun or what I am wearing but lots of people say they my eyes are gray

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      Kaykytle112@gmail.com 2 years ago

      I have green eyes, my material grandmother green eyes, my father green eyes, my mother blue eyes, my brother blue eyes, my husband blue eyes, but both my daughters are green eyes...

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      john j slater 2 years ago from Peterborough, cambridgeshire. uk

      my eyes are grey and they sparkle, lots of people have told me what beautiful eyes I have,

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      Lilla 2 years ago

      My father has blue eyes, mother's are true green without any accent colour, brother has also green. I was born with blue eyes and around 7-8 they became somewhat greenish and only after 14 became dark green (but still a bit blueish). Altough in strong light can be seen they're more of yellow and blue. Where I'm living, green is quite common (Eastern Europe) that's why I thought blue is rarer. o_O

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      Fariza 2 years ago

      my eye color is green and when I wear a blue shirt my eyes turn from Green to Blue:)

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      Fariza 2 years ago

      last year we did a bar graph of eye color and I was the only one with green eyes. Its true if you see me, my eyes are green

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      cathy 2 years ago

      My husband and i have blue eyes. My 31 year old identical twin daughters have amazing color changing eyes. Wide array of greens and several shades of blues. As well as gold and light brownish with greens and grey-blues all at once for a crazy hazel. I have seen many people, including boyfriends and sometimes strangers, hold up colored objects under the chin and play "watch her eyes change color" for half an hour! Like i said- pretty darn amazing...

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      Ally 2 years ago

      Ally I got the green green eyes my sisters and my broth ers got green and blue eyes my dad got blue eyes mum got green eyes. We all got blonde hair pale skin

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      Bri :) 2 years ago

      I have green eyes. I can make them change colors. It's really weird. And when I get mad, people say they turn all the way GOLD. I have blonde hair, as well. So, it's pretty rare.

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      Janet 2 years ago

      I have green eyes and 0 neg blood... I always knew I was a bit different than the rest.... And yep, most ppl are intrigued by them.... I love being an ODD-ball .... :-)

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      Scott 2 years ago

      Both of my parents and both sets of grandparents had blue eyes. Somehow, my sister and I ended up with green eyes. She has light green eyes and mine are a bit darker green. We cannot find any pictures of any relatives that have/had green eyes - all blue! Very interesting!

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      Lacy 2 years ago

      Both grandfathers, my parents, and my brother all have super blue eyes and mine are green. I know for certain I am biologically theirs. I however, also have very large pupils. A lot of people naturally assume I'm on drugs, which I am not. Does anyone else with green eyes have this issue?

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      Andrew 2 years ago

      If your child has different eye colors that are different from the parents, someone most likely cheated

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      Megan 2 years ago

      My eyes used to be a dark blue but they would change color all the time now I have green eyes, that are dark mossy green most of the time but in the light if it hits directly they are super light green. Sometimes they are light too.

      Both of my parents are brown haired and brown eyed along with my middle sister. My youngest sister and I are fair haired and she has baby blue eyes.

      My gramma on my moms side was fair haired and blue eyed. My moms sister is fair haired with dark blue eyes. They are of european decent from English,German,Dutch,Swedish ancestry. I get hit with Irish from my dads side. I'm a very caring outgoing strong willed person.

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      greeneyedblondie 2 years ago

      My mom has blue eyes and my dad has brown eyes. My sister's eyes changed color until she was 5, now they change different shades of brown. My brother was born with brown eyes. My eye color changes but is usually green.

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      Cass 2 years ago

      My Father is from England and has crystal clear ice blue eyes, my mothers from jersey (her great grandparents came from Europe) and she has green eyes. Me and my brothers all have green eyes. My husband has brown eyes. All 3 of my kids ended up with different shades of brown! Was really hoping for green eyed bandits like myself ;-) I am smart, loyal, dedicated, emotional, charming now but was very shy as a little girl

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      Gerrick 2 years ago

      My eyes are naturally green but change colors depending on what mood or even clothes, for example when I get extremely mad my eyes go red but when someone makes my day they go blue or yellow. They change to hazel, yellow, pure brown, and sometimes blue.

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      Kelly 2 years ago

      My mom had brown eyes, my dad had blue, I got green and my brother got brown. Me and my husband both have green I can't wait to see what our children may have.

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      DelFuego 2 years ago

      Eyes are so green that when I was in grade school? The other kids called me "witch -eyes"or "Hulk Eyes"...Now,everyone makes a big positive deal of it,but kids can be evil..That is why I had to turn them all into toads...

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      Sarah 2 years ago

      Both of my Parents and my brother have dark brown eyes and there is no one in my extended family that has green eyes except for myself. I have bright green eyes. My husband has brown eyes, my daughter has hazel and my son very bright/ light blue. We get comments often about how neat it is that we all have a different eye color. I love having green eyes and I would definitely call them chameleon eyes, as they change color often. I used to freak my friends out by holding something close to my face and stare at it- either blue, grey or yellow and my eyes would change to the color of the item I was staring at.

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      jr. 2 years ago

      My eyes change from green to grey.

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      Andre 2 years ago

      both my parents have brown eyes but I have green

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      Venus 2 years ago from Oregon

      I was born with hazel, and had hazel tell the day a gave birth to my son at 21, they turned green and now at 43 they are amber/green I love them and people just freak when they really see them. Might explain the Irish/German blood.

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      Charlotte 3 years ago

      My dad has hazel eyes, and my mom brown. My younger sister's eyes are dark brown and mine were blue. They have always tended to change from blue to green depending on what I am wearing or the lighting, but it seems as I have gotten older, they are more green than blue.

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      julia 3 years ago

      Very green eyes (I am Eastern European though never thought it may matter) Mom is hazel/yellowish eyed, father grey eyed. My brother got grey - lucky me. Ppl do go crazy about my eyes :)

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      Melly 3 years ago

      My dad has green eyes and my mother had hazel...my sister ended up with hazel eyes and I got the green. My eyes sometimes appear to change colors depending on what color I wear. My husband also has green eyes, it should be interesting to see what color our kids eyes will end up being.

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      christy 3 years ago

      My father had brown eyes and my mother has blue and I have green. This has been said to be a impossible combination. My son and daughter have separate fathers...each father had brown eyes but both of my children inherited my green eyes. This is also said to be against the odds as brown is supposed to be the most dominate of colors. I guess we r odd lol. If anyone has any speculation on the why I welcome your responses.

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      Briana 3 years ago

      My eyes are green with hints of yellow around my pupil and an odd grey/blue in splotches in my iris. They look green most of the time, but in bright light the blueish color really stands out. I've never read that green eyes is usually European descent. But my father-in-law has always told my husband I look Eastern European. I aways brushed it off because I've always thought I had mostly German in me. Although I have no clue. I do know my eyes are green and I'm VERY creative, caring, and very understanding. I like to think posotive! I'm also nosy but that's just the social butterfly in me lol also love psychology! Does this have anything to do with my eye color though????

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      Bettina 3 years ago

      I have green eyes that change color to yellow-green especially when the weather is cloudy/rainy or if I cry. The father of my 3 kids has brown eyes. My oldest daughter has Amber eyes, my son (middle) has Blue, almost violet eyes, and my youngest also has Green eyes. So there you go, 4 totally different eye colors within the same family!

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      junior 3 years ago

      I really adore a girl with green eyes very attractive, goddess eyes in which they flourish, beauty in this is precious:-)

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      cola 3 years ago

      My eyes are true green almost yellowish green with a blue flower pattern. I have no idea what it means as nobody else in my family has this