Vision Center is funded by our readers. We may earn commissions if you purchase something via one of our links.
In this article
The color of your eyes is determined by the level of melanin pigmentation in your iris. Your iris is the thin, ring-like structure in the middle of your eye, giving it its color.
Brown eyes have the most melanin pigmentation and green eyes have the least. When there is little melanin in the iris, the light that hits it disperses.
This is what makes it appear green. It’s also why sometimes people’s eyes can seem to “change color” as the levels of light vary. This is known as Rayleigh scattering.
How much melanin pigmentation is produced in your iris is a complex matter of genetics. At least 16 different genes influence eye color.
These genes interact with each other in complex ways. It’s far from a simple matter of what color your parents' eyes are. In fact, scientists still can’t completely predict what color eyes a person’s child will have.
Green eyes are among the rarest in the world - even rarer than blue. It’s estimated that only 2% of the entire world population has green eyes.
People of European descent represent the largest share of those with green eyes. Within Europe, green eyes are most common in Ireland and Scotland, and Scandinavia.
Iceland has the most, with 88% of the population having either green or blue eyes.
Even though they’re most common in Europe, people with green eyes can be found all over the world, even as far as remote parts of China.
Here are eight interesting facts about green eyes:
There are a lot of celebrities with green eyes. Some famous names include:
For most of human history people were stuck with the eye color they were born with. Thankfully, it’s now possible to “change” your eye color with colored contact lenses.
Colored contact lenses are also known as “cosmetic,” “decorative,” or “costume” lenses.
You’ll have to talk to a doctor about getting colored contact lenses because they are illegal without a prescription.
In this article
All Vision Center content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed optometrist to ensure the information is factual and meets industry standards.
We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from recent scientific research, scholarly articles, textbooks, government agencies, optometry websites, and medical journals.
All about Vision Center