Updated on  December 6, 2022
2 min read

Purple Eye Color

6 sources cited
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Alexandria's Genesis & Purple (Violet) Eyes

Alexandria’s Genesis is an online myth that states a genetic mutation involving purple eyes turns people into perfect beings. The claimed benefits of this mutation include: 

  • Fair skin with no body hair
  • Perfectly-proportioned limbs
  • The absence of menstruation or bodily waste
  • Slower aging
  • A lifespan of 150 years

While fictional, there are other real conditions that can cause eyes to appear purple.

What Conditions Can Make Eyes Purple?

Levels of melanin in the iris determine eye color. Because melanin is a brown pigment, people with more melanin tend to have darker skin, hair, and eyes. 

All eye colors besides brown are due to an absence of melanin rather than any specific pigment. 

When light hits the iris, this lack of melanin causes light to split into a color spectrum. Depending on how much melanin is there, eyes can appear green, hazel, blue, or purple.

Some eyes appear purple rather than blue due to the additional factor of light reflecting off red blood vessels. 

Did Elizabeth Taylor Really Have Purple Eyes?

This is a popular myth. Elizabeth Taylor’s eyes appeared purple in some photos due to lighting, makeup, and clothing. In reality, her eyes were blue, which can be seen in the vast majority of her photos.

Liz Taylor purple eyes
Credit: arogundade.com
Liz Taylor Purple eyes 3
Credit: nickiswift.com

Are Purple Eyes Rare?

True purple eyes are exceedingly rare. Less than 1% of the world’s population has them, making them rarer than blue, hazel, amber, grey, or green.6

What Do Purple Eyes Mean?

Eye color ranges with the amount of melanin in the iris. The amount of melanin is, in turn, determined by genetics. 

It’s possible that purple eyes could be the result of a mutation within the FOXC2 gene.1 This same mutation may also cause a disorder called Lymphedema-Distichiasis Syndrome. Symptoms include swelling of the limbs, double eyelashes, and heart problems.3, 4

People with lighter eyes are also more vulnerable to eye melanoma, also known as ocular melanoma.2

Complications from eye melanoma can include glaucoma, vision loss, and spread of the cancer to other parts of the body.

Updated on  December 6, 2022
6 sources cited
Updated on  December 6, 2022
  1. Luna. “Is Eye Color Genetic? | What Your Eye Color Has to Do With Your History.www.lunadna.com, 2019.
  2. Mayo Clinic. “Eye melanoma.www.mayoclinic.org.
  3. Medline Plus. “FOXC2 gene.medlineplus.gov.
  4. Mellor, Russell H. “Mutations in FOXC2 Are Strongly Associated With Primary Valve Failure in Veins of the Lower Limb.Circulation, vol. 115, no. 14. www.ahajournals.org.
  5. Pike, Naomi. “13 Dazzling Scenes That Prove Elizabeth Taylor’s Own Jewels Were Her Greatest Co-Stars.www.vogue.co.uk/, 2021.
  6. Simpson, Victoria. “The World's Population By Eye Color.www.worldatlas.com, 2020.
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