Updated on 

April 25, 2022

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Amber Eye Color

How Rare are Amber Eyes?

While common in animals like wolves, cats, and owls, amber-colored eyes in people are incredibly rare. 

Like green eyes, just 5% of the world’s population has them, making them one of the rarest colors in the world. 

Amber eyes are most commonly found in peoples of Asian, Spanish, South American, and South African descent.

What Amber Eyes Look Like (With Pictures)

Amber eyes
Amber eyes 1
Amber eyes

What Causes Amber Eye Color? 

Just like skin and hair, the color of your eyes is determined by melanin. 

Melanin can cause light to disperse along the color spectrum when it hits the iris. This is known as Rayleigh scattering, and it’s what determines the color of your eyes. 

There are two kinds of melanin: 

  1. Eumelanin — a black-brown pigment. It's abundant in people with brown eyes. People with amber eyes have less than those with brown eyes.
  2. Pheomelanin — a reddish-yellow pigment.  Higher levels of this cause eyes to have a yellowish tint. 

It’s believed pheomelanin plays a role in amber eyes appearing as they do.1

Genetics determines levels of melanin, making eye color fixed at birth. 

There are at least 16 different genes that influence eye color. Scientists do not yet fully understand the ways they interact with each other. 

The OCA2 gene is thought to be the most important, because it controls melanin production.5

What’s the Difference Between Amber and Hazel Eyes?

Hazel eyes are typically a mix of green, brown and gold colors. If your eyes are solidly golden or yellow, you have amber eyes.

What Celebrities Have Amber Eyes?

A number of famous people have amber eyes:

  • Justin Bieber
  • Jennifer Garner
  • Nicole Richie
  • Jennifer Lopez
  • Edward Cullen
  • Jane Seymour
  • Eliza Dushku
  • Darren Criss
6 Cited Research Articles
  1. Blok, Jordan. “How do we get our eye color?www.popsci.com, 2020.
  2. McDonald, Fiona. “This Is The Fascinating Way Blue Eyes Get Their Colour.www.sciencealert.com, 2018.
  3. MedlinePlus. “Is eye color determined by genetics?medlineplus.gov.
  4. Moore, John D. “Learn About The Origin of Amber Eyes in People.guycounseling.com, 2017.
  5. Riesen, Guillaume. “Eye Color.genetics.thetech.org, 2019.
  6. Simpson, Victoria. “The World's Population By Eye Color.www.worldatlas.com, 2020.
Vincent Ayaga is a medical researcher and experienced content writer with a bachelor's degree in Medical Microbiology. His areas of special interest include disease investigation, prevention, and control strategies. Vincent's mission is to create awareness of visual problems and evidence-based solutions shaping the world of ophthalmology. He believes that ophthalmic education offered through research has a greater impact among knowledge seekers.
Author: Vince Ayaga  | UPDATED April 25, 2022
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