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Shocking explanation behind how blue eyes aren't actually blue

Shocking explanation behind how blue eyes aren't actually blue

If you thought your eyes were blue, think again.

There's a whole lot of fuss around blue eyes, with countless songs dedicated to piercing baby blues.

Well, we hate to break it to you - but blue eyes aren't actually that color.

That's right, you might find yourself lost in someone's blue eyes - but it's actually a trick of nature, according to experts.

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"Blue eye color is determined by melanin, and melanin is actually brown by nature," wrote Gary Heiting, OD, and Adam Debrowski in All About Vision.

"The color of our eyes depends on how much melanin is present in the iris. Brown eyes have the highest amount of melanin in the iris, and blue eyes have the least."

So blue eyes aren't actually because your irises are laced with aqua - it just means you have much less melanin in the iris compared to your brown-eyed friends.

According to the writers in All About Vision, there's no such thing as a blue pigment in the eye - brown melanin is the only pigment that exists.

"Eyes only appear to be these colors because of the way light strikes the layers of the iris and reflects back toward the viewer," they wrote.

And while genes do play a big part in dictating what color your eyes will be - explaining why you might have blue eyes like your mom, or brown like your dad - that's not the whole story.

"Geneticists now know that as many as 16 different genes influence eye color to some degree - far from the one or two genes that were once believed to determine iris hue," wrote Heiting and Debrowski.

"In addition to genetics, the anatomic structure of the iris can also affect eye color to some degree."

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So that doesn't necessary mean that blue-eyed parents will share the same eye color as their kids - it's pretty much impossible to predict.

And if they did give birth to children with baby blues, that's not necessarily the end of the story.

A baby's iris doesn't contain much melanin when they're born - so might initially look like they've got blue eyes. But as they grow up, more melanin will develop, and their eye color might change.

“The range of time when a baby will develop their ‘true’ eye color varies, but it usually happens between six and nine months of age,” Emily M. Zepeda, MD, a clinical assistant professor and pediatric ophthalmologist at the Dean McGee Eye Institute/University of Oklahoma department of ophthalmology, told the Dean McGee Eye Institute.

This doesn't mean all babies are born with blue eyes - this is more likely to happen with Caucasian children, while kids of Asian, Black or Latinx heritage normally have darker eyes, according to the Dean McGee Eye Institute.

Featured Image Credit: stock_colors/Danielle Tunstall/Getty Images