Isn't science great?
Science, man. If it isn’t contributing to amazing inventions, radical new technologies, or trying to solve medical mysteries, it can kind of be a straight-up jerk. If it’s not proving that the dinosaurs all sort of looked like giant chickens and didn’t roar, or taking Pluto’s planetary status away, it’s getting personal and proving that people with “unique” colored eyes really just have brown eyes beneath it all. And that we’re not special.
It’s probably also flipping us the bird when we’ve got our backs turned.
Blue eyes? Green eyes? Hazel? Gray eyes? Yep, your eyes are actually brown, buddy.
Before you flip out and declare it a bald-faced lie stemming from the ruinous year of 2016, just wait a second, because there’s actually a pretty interesting reason for it. Tears can come later when you’ve learned the truth.
Dr. Gary Heiting is a licensed optometrist and the senior editor of an eye care website called All About Vision. According to him, “Everyone has melanin in the iris of their eyes, and the amount that they have determines their eye color. There’s really only (this) one type of pigment.”
Melanin is the pigment that’s in your hair and skin as well as your eyes, and the color is — you can probably guess it — actually dark brown. Melanin absorbs light, so when there is a lot of it present, it can take in more and appears darker. Hence darker hair, skin, and yes, even eyes, having larger amounts of melanin present.
When it’s in an eye, higher melanin levels actually make the iris appear brown because it’s absorbing a lot of light and less light gets reflected out. Conversely, if you don’t have a lot of melanin in your eyes, then they will appear lighter colored because they’re reflecting more light back.
The actual process is called “scattering,” and the light that your eye is reflecting back happens to bounce back on shorter wavelengths that appear on the blue side of the spectrum of light color.
So yes, the only reason that your eyes look green, brown, gray, or any other color is because you’re actually lacking melanin in your irises. Yes, underneath those reflective light waves, you have brown, brown, brown eyes.
I guess we can never feel special about cool eye colors again. Thanks, science.