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6 Rare and Unique Eye Colors

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My name is Tatiana, but my friends and family call me Tutta. I love writing articles about what makes each of us unique and rare.

Close up of a hazel eye, which are more rare than you might think.

Close up of a hazel eye, which are more rare than you might think.

The eyes certainly are windows to the soul, and if you know anything about eyes or windows, you know they come in many different tints and colors!

Most commonly, you see brown or blue eyes when you look at the people around you, but some people wind up with really cool and rare eye colors. Here are some of the rarest eye colors and how they happen.

What Determines the Color of Your Eyes?

Many people will argue that the color of your eyes is purely genetic, which for the most part is true. However, there’s still not a lot known about the specific genes that determine a person’s eye color. We do know that rarer eye color genes are recessive, so perhaps it’s just a matter of the right genes coming together to bring forth the phenomena.

What we do know about eye color determination is that it involves two pigments: melanin (brown pigment), and lipochrome (yellow pigment). It also depends on how the iris scatters light. When you see someone with light-blue eyes, it means there is an absence of melanin or brown pigmentation. Conversely, when you see someone with dark-brown eyes, they have an abundance of melanin.

The Rarest Eye Colors and How They Occur

Eye ColorCause(s)

Heterochromia

Increased or decreased pigmentation in one iris or part of an iris.

Anisocoria

One pupil is larger than the other making one eye look darker.

Red or Pink

Little to no melanin due to albinism.

Violet

Lack of melanin mixed with light reflecting off of red blood vessels.

Grey

Very little melanin with a high amount of collagen in the stroma.

Green

A little melanin, a large amount of lipochrome, and Rayleigh scattering of light.

Amber

A little melanin with a large amount of lipochrome.

Hazel

Melanin concentrated in the outer portion of the iris causing a multicolored appearance that usually ranges from copper to green depending on the light.

So, Which Is the Most Unique?

It's hard to determine exactly which eye color is the rarest, but if you have never seen any of the ones listed below, it’s because they're not common. This list is from the rarest to the more common, and if your eye color is listed, consider yourself a gem.

While it may seem like only a few people have rare eye colors, the truth is that everyone has a unique color to them, just like fingerprints. No two people share the same shape or color of eyes. So even if you have brown eyes, you're eye color is unique!

Rarest and Most Beautiful Eye Colors in the World

1. Heterochromia and Anisocoria

Heterochromia and anisocoria are sometimes mistaken for each other. Most people think David Bowie had two different eye colors, when in fact, he had anisocoria.

This photo shows heterochromia when one eye is partially a different color, rather than the entire iris being a different color.

This photo shows heterochromia when one eye is partially a different color, rather than the entire iris being a different color.

Heterochromia

Heterochromia is a rare eye condition where a person's irises are different colors. There are three types of heterochromia:

  • Complete Heterochromia: One iris is a completely different color than the other iris.
  • Partial Heterochromia: A spot in an iris is an entirely different color than the rest of the iris due to pigmentation differences.
  • Central Heterochromia: When there is an inner ring that is a different color than the outer area of the iris.
Central heterochromia causes melanin to be  concentrated around the pupil.

Central heterochromia causes melanin to be concentrated around the pupil.

It’s quite an unusual type of eye coloring that some individuals have, and while many people wear contacts to make their eye color more uniform, I think it’s beautiful, and such a rarity should be flaunted!

Anisocoria

Anisocoria is when one pupil is larger than the other pupil. This can make someone look like they have two different eye colors when they do not. Anisocoria can be present at birth, and there is usually only a few millimeters of difference between the two.

Anisocoria can also be a result of nerve palsy or a traumatic eye injury. This can cause a much more significant difference in pupil size making the eye with the dilated pupil look much darker than the eye with the normal pupil.

This is an example of anisocoria in green eyes!  Talk about rare!

This is an example of anisocoria in green eyes! Talk about rare!

2. Red, Pink, and Violet Eyes

Red or Pink Eyes

Two major conditions cause a red or pinkish eye color: albinism and blood leaking into the iris. Although albinos tend to have very, very light blue eyes due to a lack of pigment, some forms of albinism can cause eyes to appear red or pink.

Albino eyes look can look red or pink due to the lack of pigment in the iris.

Albino eyes look can look red or pink due to the lack of pigment in the iris.

Violet Eyes

Oh, what a purplish blue! This color is most often found in people with albinism. It is said that you cannot truly have violet eyes without albinism. Mix a lack of pigment with the red from light reflecting off of blood vessels in the eyes, and you get a beautiful violet!

3. Grey Eyes

Grey eyes can sometimes be mistaken for light blue eyes, and they do occur in much the same way. It is thought that what makes these eyes appear grey rather than blue has to do with the amount of collagen present in the stroma. This interferes with the Rayleigh scattering, causing the light to reflect the color grey rather than blue.

Grey eyes have more collagen in the stroma than blue eyes, which changes the way light scatters and reflects grey rather than blue.

Grey eyes have more collagen in the stroma than blue eyes, which changes the way light scatters and reflects grey rather than blue.

4. Green Eyes

Very little melanin, a burst of lipochrome, and the Rayleigh scattering of light that reflects off the yellow stroma can make for a variety of shades of green. With only two percent of the world’s population having green eyes, it’s definitely rare!

Green eyes are beautiful and unique.

Green eyes are beautiful and unique.

Did You Know?

Only 2% of the world's population has green eyes! Talk about a rarity! Next time you see someone rocking natural greens, let them in on this cool fact.

5. Amber Eyes

This beautiful, golden eye color is often confused with hazel. The difference is that hazel eyes have brown and green in them, while amber eyes are a solid, uniform color. With a little melanin and a whole lot of lipochrome, eyes of this shade almost appear to be glowing! A few different animals have this eye color, but it’s a true rarity in humans.

Very light brown or amber colored eye.

Very light brown or amber colored eye.

6. Hazel Eyes

While hazel eyes may seem fairly common, you probably know someone with hazel eyes, they only account for about 5% of the world's population. Hazel eyes have a concentration of melanin on the outside of the iris, giving the eye a multicolored appearance.

Are There Really Black Eyes?

Some people think that having black eyes is one of the rarest eye colors. Have you ever seen someone with eyes that seem black as night? Although they appear black, they are really just a very, very dark brown, which is caused by an abundance of melanin. You may only be able to determine the pupil from the iris when looking at the eye with a bright light!

True black eyes do not exist, rather there are brown eyes so dark that it is hard to distinguish between the pupil and the iris in regular light.

True black eyes do not exist, rather there are brown eyes so dark that it is hard to distinguish between the pupil and the iris in regular light.

Eye Color Statistics From Most Common to Most Rare

RankEye ColorEstimated Percentage of World PopulationMost Common Regions of the World

1

Brown

55%–79%

Dark Brown: East Asia, Southeast Asia, and Africa. Lighter Brown: Europe, West Asia, and the Americas.

2

Blue

8%–10%

Europe with the largest population being from Finland.

3

Hazel

5%

All

4

Amber

5%

All

5

Green

2%

Central, Western, and Northern Europe.

6

Grey

<1%

Northern and Eastern Europe.

7

Red/Violet

<1%

All

8

Heterochromia

<1%

All

Did We All Have Brown Eyes?

It is believed that the human race started out having brown eyes, and due to genetic mutations, other colors came about. Perhaps this is why brown is the most common (but no less beautiful)!

Many people who have perfect vision choose to wear contacts just to have a rare eye color. So if you already flaunt one of these colors naturally, consider yourself lucky!

Originally, we all had brown eyes. But a genetic mutation affecting the OCA2 gene in our chromosomes resulted in the creation of a 'switch,' which literally 'turned off' the ability to produce brown eyes.

— Professor Hans Eiberg, Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Copenhagen

This May Look Like Partial Heterochromia at First Glance

This is melanoma of the eye, not heterochromia.

This is melanoma of the eye, not heterochromia.

Is It Melanoma?

If you have any of these symptoms, check with your doctor as soon as possible.

  • A sensation of flashes or specks of dust in your vision (floaters).
  • A growing dark spot on the iris.
  • A change in the shape of the dark circle (pupil) at the center of your eye.
  • Poor or blurry vision in one eye.
  • A loss of peripheral vision.

Can You Permanently Change Your Eye Color?

There is a way to make your brown eyes blue. A controversial laser surgery can remove the melanin in your eye, resulting in a clearer stroma that allows Rayleigh scattering, so your eyes look blue. Some doctor’s use silicone implants to permanently change eye color. Either way, there are significant risks involved.

There are risks with this permanent change, as there are with most surgeries. One risk is the melanin can potentially cause blockages to the fluid draining from the eye causing excess pressure, or glaucoma. A silicone implant can also create a blockage and increased pressure in the eye causing inflammation and damage to the structures of the eye. Patient’s have been rendered wholly or partially blind as a result of these surgeries.

Doctor’s have reported that many people who want to change their eye color had a friend or sibling who was constantly complimented on their light eye color. In those cases, doctor’s suggest confronting those feelings through therapy rather than undergoing risky surgery.

If you want to change your eye color, your best and safest bet is to be fitted for color contacts by a licensed Ophthalmologist.

Glossary

  • Melanin: A dark brown to black pigment in hair, skin, and the iris of the eye in people and animals.
  • Lipochrome: A fat-soluble pigment that is the natural yellow coloring of butter, egg, yolk, and yellow corn.
  • Rayleigh Scattering: The scattering of light without a change of wavelength. This is what makes the sky look blue, since blue light is scattered more easily than red.

Sources

10 Things You Didn't Know About Your Eyes

Comments

Destiny Bailey on August 26, 2020:

Im a ginger with blue eyes. But I have Partial Heterochromia! But only my left eye is partially brown. Its super noticeable during different seasons/months. My eyes change with my hair.

KAT on August 25, 2020:

I have central Heterochromia. Blue eyes with a green ring around the pupil. If I wear green people think I have green eyes. If I wear other colors most think I have blue eyes.

uwu on August 23, 2020:

I have heterochromia I was born with bright blue eyes but now their hazel in the middle, a small green ring and then a blue outer ring.

bobbiwitzky@yahoo.com on August 23, 2020:

My wife has grey eyes. Truly beautiful eyes. The exact color shifts with what she's wearing. If she wants blue eyes, she wears a blue blouse etc. Fascinating to watch to watch her eyes change as she goes from a purple robe (grey violet) to a green shirt (green gray.) Makeup also will shift her eye color.

Hi on August 23, 2020:

My eye consists of three colours: around the pupil they are amber, and around that ( most of my eye) they are a dark green. And lining all of that is a thin area of brown. Is that common?

Hehe on August 23, 2020:

I have central heterochromnia but my parents will not believe me! The ring around my pupil is amber and the rest of my eye is dark green. But they look dark brown/ green from a distance! Anybody else in the heterochromnia club?!

Jess on August 22, 2020:

I can't tell if I have hazel eyes or amber eyes. my eyes look amber but have green rings around them.

Airon jones on August 22, 2020:

I have grey and I'm not from where it says.

Autumn on August 20, 2020:

I have green eyes btw

sapphire on August 19, 2020:

l like your eye l wish l had your eye l have Brown eye

Ok on August 17, 2020:

I have hazel.

Isaiah Stonehouse on August 16, 2020:

My Eyes are A DARK cAramel my moms are a lighter shade of caramel my dads eyes change with what he wears

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on August 14, 2020:

Interesting about color of the eyes. I have dark color eyes my son has green eyes like his dad

baylee fields on August 11, 2020:

I think I have melanoma but my parents and sister won't believe me I have 3/5 symptoms of melanoma I don't know what to do and I'm nine years old :(

- on August 09, 2020:

I have amber eyes but its lookin like light brown too

Sombody on August 08, 2020:

I have a Stormy blue eye color with some gray in it, and I just realized that I have central heterochromia that is (according to my mom) a bluish gray/violet gray, but it looks kind of yellow to me (it blends in pretty well). I went through every comment and I only found a small handful with my eye color (the blue-gray part at least).

the killer 1 on August 06, 2020:

my eyes have blue on the outside but brown on the inside

shan on August 05, 2020:

i think i have central heterochromia eyes and the middle is brown and the outside is green sometimes but other times it’s grey and it can also be green-gray, blue-green, or blue-grey. i have no idea what it actually is?

????? on August 04, 2020:

My friend has heterochromia eyes and I have brown eyes and I love them

Faiza on August 04, 2020:

I have brown eyes even though it is really common I love my eyes the way they are.

Kim kardisian on August 04, 2020:

Omg .I have brown eyes

someone on August 01, 2020:

I took a picture of my eyes a while ago and I just saw that they were completely grey, but with some yellow spots, making them look green-grey

Seba on July 31, 2020:

I have dark eyes but when in light it will be like hazel mixed with grey

Miley on July 30, 2020:

I have dark blue eyes with a brown stripe on the top of my pupil on my left eye and my Grandma has hazel eyes with a brown stripe on the bottom of her pupil on her left eye. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?!

Quenton Kerns on July 30, 2020:

My eyes change to what I’m wearing

Jason on July 28, 2020:

My eyes are a hazel green color that either is a light or dark green, that can be nourish also. It also has a little brown spot on one of my irises so idrk what to call that.

lotti on July 27, 2020:

my eyes go from brown to yellow to green so can someone tell me what colour my eyes are cause i dont know

Saint Nine on July 22, 2020:

Alex, they did say that there is no such thing as black eyes, they're very dark brown, so dark that it's impossible to distinguish the iris from the pupil unless you look very closely in bright sunlight. Even then it's difficult as the bright light would make the pupil very small. The other possibility is that you have very large pupils, so large that only the outer ring of the iris is visible. I've always had large pupils, but as my eyes are pale blue - turquoise, the iris is still clearly visible.

Hazel eyes always have an element of amber or light brown, hence the name, so I wouldn't call blue-green eyes hazel.

Everyone's eyes change colour all the time, just that this is less noticeable in some people than in others, eg in brown eyes. Generally, the darker your eyes the harder it is to spot the difference. For example, as I said, mine vary from pale greyish blue to turquoise.

Eye colour is also affected by your environment: they'll look different in artificial light and sunlight and are also affected by the light's intensity. If you're eyes are bloodshot, ie the whites are pink - red, that will also affect the appearance of your irises.

My original post, which was a long time ago, mentioned the two most unusual eyes I've ever come across: one girl I knew had bottle green eyes, a truly beautiful colour. What was even more striking was that in bright sunlight there were little flecks of yellowish orange near her pupils. The other unusual eye colour was silver. They really were a very pale grey without the slightest hint of blue and hard a dark, almost black, thin ring around the outer edge of the iris. They were striking to say the least and I've never seen eyes anything like them since. The same goes for the bottle green eyes, although I've seen eyes that are close, usually not such a deep green. I've found that green eyes are much more common in Germany than here (in the UK). I find green eyes particularly attractive, so notice them more than blue or brown.

One last comment, I once saw an African man that had cornflower blue eyes. He was very dark skinned, probably because this was in Greece during a heatwave, so he will have had quite a tan, but they were also very striking.

on July 21, 2020:

I have no idea what my eyes are called some people might consider them hazel but I have mainly blue and green and not a lot of brown.

citrusun on July 21, 2020:

i have blue, green, grey, and amber central hetechromatic eyes. what color would i put on a test or description of me??? none of the colors really stand out

Alex on July 20, 2020:

WHY DO I HAVE BLACK EYESSSSSSSSSSS AND THERE IS NO INFORMATION ABOUT ITTTTTT!!

on July 20, 2020:

Are blue green eyes considered hazel?

Cey on July 20, 2020:

I have blue eyes with minute amounts of brown that darken or lighten due to mood, such as if angry or depressed they darken but if happy or relaxed it becomes very light blue.

person on July 19, 2020:

i have greenish grey with brown streaks

me on July 17, 2020:

i have grey eyes

Landon Adams on July 16, 2020:

Mine are sometimes Blue and Green and can change to Blue and Yellow

Jan G on July 12, 2020:

I have yellow green eyes, the colour of cats eyes

me on July 12, 2020:

I have heterochicrema one eye is green and the other is grey or silver

Sarah langford on July 10, 2020:

I have very green eyes. They charge colour constantly. They are emerald green

Jolie on July 10, 2020:

My eyes share three colors, I have what I believe to be central Heterochromia, I have a hazel color closest to my pupil and green on the outer area, and a very thin line of grey circuling my whole iris.

Neisha on July 08, 2020:

I wish I had blue but brown their so pretty when you get your in the sunlight

Nonna yo beeswax on July 07, 2020:

I have hazel eyes, but the inner ring is black then it becomes a mix between brown and mostly green. They look weird

... on July 06, 2020:

I have a dark green/blue (it looks black when I look in the mirror) ring around the outside of my iris, but my eye color is Hazel. I don't know if I have Central Heterochromia but the center of my iris is an amber-ish color. My family says I have very beautiful eyes, I don't think I do, I prefer green eyes or people who have Complete Heterochromia.

Ashee on July 04, 2020:

I have grey eyes with yellow around my pupils (central heterochromia). Didn't know my eyes were so cool lmao.

Rose on July 01, 2020:

I'm always told I have brown eyes but when you look close up in a brighter light, My left eye has a part on the outside of my iris (not touching the pupil) were its blue with some yellow flecks and my right eye has a greenish-blue color to the right in the middle of my iris (not touching the pupil or the edge near the sclera.

Quinn on June 30, 2020:

My eyes are sea green, with a bluish-green ring at edge, and a touch of yellow around the pupil. When I see people with fake green contacts, I laugh and say why?

Erreur on June 30, 2020:

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Rarest_eyes_ever on June 28, 2020:

I have violet eyes

Abhi on June 25, 2020:

I had light brown eyes as a child, which then a few years later looked like amber, it then became hazel (central heterochromia) with light brown closer to the iris and green at the outer rings. I read somewhere people with hazel eyes must have both parents with hazel eyes or europen ancestry. Is that true?

Scott on June 25, 2020:

My natural pigmentation is turquoise but my eyes can change from green to blue to "black" to brown to hazel to amber and then back to turquoise. My dad is the same . So how hare is turquoise and how rare is my eye changing colour like that? I was born in Cavan in Ireland and my dad is from Dublin

Lori A Spurgeon on June 25, 2020:

I have light green or gray eyes with brown flecks. The color changes. Some say I have green eyes or hazel eyes. Ive traced my family history to the northern border of England on both sides of my moms family.

Random on June 24, 2020:

People are saying the rarest is green when the rarest is grey because 1% of the world have it while 2% of the world have green eyes

Don't ask on June 24, 2020:

Cool there's nothing special bout mine

Kinza on June 24, 2020:

I have central hetrochromia of green and brown color

Ellie on June 22, 2020:

I have green eyes but there’s a little bit of brown in the middle some people say my eyes are green and some say there hazel

Sindhu Chakraborty on June 22, 2020:

I have Blue with a tinch of brown in the left eye and black with a tinch of blue in the right eye. What is called? is this something rare or special ?

Tyne on June 20, 2020:

I have no clue what my eye colour is. Some say greyish some just say blue but i kinda think their smokey blue?.. is that even an eye colour?

Brenna on June 18, 2020:

My friend has the one with one blue eye and one violet. She also has albilsim

i eat poo i drink pee i breathe fart on June 18, 2020:

I have green eyes with a dark blue tint on the outside edges and people always say they can look into my eyes and see themselves get swallowed up

Justin on June 16, 2020:

I have green eyes with a dark blue tint on the outside edges and people always say they can look into my eyes and see themselves get swallowed up

Sophie on June 16, 2020:

I have grey eyes in the middle and then they have light blue as a ring

Andrei on June 16, 2020:

Talking about violet eyes... There was a single person in this world that hat those kind of eyes, that person was Elizabeth Taylor, a really good actor.

Ivyz on June 16, 2020:

My daughter has blue eyes but there's something special about her eyes i've never seen before she has Center heterochromia in both of her eyes they both are blue with a really light blue or gray ring around her pupils they've been that way since birth

Gill on June 15, 2020:

I have Hazel

Kaci on June 13, 2020:

I have blue-grey eye's

Linnie on June 13, 2020:

My eyes are grey with yellow around my pupils.

This_Girl_Is_Being_Hacked (but call me Sonia) on June 12, 2020:

My eyes are blue with a green ring around the iris.

Oliver on June 06, 2020:

My eyes are a somewhat dark-ish blue with a green ring around my pupil

Abraham.Zoey on June 05, 2020:

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Angelica on June 05, 2020:

I have green/graywhite/orange Eyes.

Amanda on June 03, 2020:

I have green and orange eyes but my mom doesn’t believe me.

Ethan Yang on June 02, 2020:

WHAT IS THE RAREST EYE COLOR? Green Eyed People, 156,000,000 or 2% Amber Eyed People: 390,000,000 or 5% Violet, NOT red, 600 people have it or 0.00000076% people have it

Megan on May 31, 2020:

I don’t know what eye colour I have because my dominant colour swiches from a blue-grey//blue-green shade,it’s never a dominant colour unless I but a filter on it and on top of that I’ve got what I think is sectoral+central Heterochromia

Holo on May 30, 2020:

I have grey eyes

Bria on May 29, 2020:

Mine are green!

Christel on May 28, 2020:

I have four colors starts with grey on the out side then blue then green with yellow in the center. But i didnt see any about them.

✞✞✞ on May 28, 2020:

I dint found my eye color :/

Kaylee on May 27, 2020:

I somehow have eyes that are green, blue, and grey yet I don't have Heterochromia.

James on May 26, 2020:

My eys change from blue,green,grey

Maggie on May 26, 2020:

Luna, you're eyes sound very interesting, and also very beautiful!

Fancy Poet Girl on May 26, 2020:

I have blue eyes with light brown/golden/amber rings around my irises. I never knew why, but now I do. I think I have Central Heterochromia.

Junisjill on May 26, 2020:

I have silverish eyes with a ring of brown in them

Lis on May 26, 2020:

I don’t hv eyes

D.V. on May 24, 2020:

I use to think my eyes were ether blue or green, but apparently their grey.

Alexandra powers on May 23, 2020:

I have medium blue eyes and my dad has hazel green eyes

Lincoln.Paul on May 23, 2020:

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Hello on May 22, 2020:

I have greenish - grey eyes with a ring of amber (central Heterochromia) and Anisocoria.

Weird!

bruh on May 22, 2020:

hah i have the most boring brown eyes ever. they don't even have any variation, like a lighter ring or that weird pattern like in the green eyes. everyone else in the comment section who apparently have super cool eye colours.. damn, you're lucky :')

... on May 21, 2020:

I have Blue Gold Brown eyes

Dusk Wilson on May 20, 2020:

I have Grey eyes

manahil tahir on May 19, 2020:

I have green hazel eyes ...some people say they r gree and some say they r brown but they r hazel☺

Emaan on May 19, 2020:

I have amber hazel eyes that colour change

me on May 18, 2020:

i have amber eyes with heterochromia

Just a person on May 18, 2020:

I have grey eyes-

Everyone says they're a light blue so i'm actually not sure but they look pretty grey to me-

Azzy on May 17, 2020:

I have I think.. Blue Hazel eyes. Cause they change in different lighting.

Brooke on May 16, 2020:

I have green brown and blue eyes, is that common or?

Luna on May 15, 2020:

I have one purple eye, and one silver eye. Is that weird?

a loli on May 14, 2020:

when you have dark blue eyes and black eyes mixed

Sara Moore on May 13, 2020:

I have blue eyes with brown spots

Anonymous on May 12, 2020:

I have blue eyes with a brown/hazel-ish ring around the pupil. Thats Central Heterochromia right?

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