Marie Claire magazine has this section they call: Beauty Road Show. Each month they go to a different city across the US, and gather up a dozen or so of the local ladies and ask them to share their favorite physical thing about themselves. This tidbit of information is accompanied by their photo. Great section. Love it. In last months March issue, I was intrigued by one woman’s remark about her eyes,
Alexis Martin, 18 (of New Orleans,) said,
“My deep-set eyes constantly change color—from mossy green to chocolate brown depending on my mood.”
(Featured Photo Credit: Marie Claire magazine)
Immediately I laugh to myself, did she just describe her eyes as if they were mood rings or something??
Then flashbacks to middle school emerge in my thoughts and I recall a day of science class, the objective for the day concerning eye color, and I see my six grade (or could have been seventh grade) teacher attempting to explain how our eyes get to be the color they are. (Interestingly enough, a similar scenario played out in my college evolution class, with the same explanation….)
I’m sure you’ve all heard it before, they teach it as if it’s the most simple thing ever—brown is a dominate eye gene; if one of your parents has brown eyes, you will most likely (practically destined to) have brown eyes. (I think she said the odds were like 75% chance) It wasn’t set in stone, but almost. And recessive blue eyes were really hard to come by. To create that oceanic color both of your parents had to be of that eye color, or their parents had to, so you could get the gene on both sides yourself.
With an explanation as simplistic as that, it virtually warranted an opposition. Which our class had of course. A peer immediately rose to hand to present themselves as a walking contraction; invoking snickers from the rest of us suggesting our assumption that clearly their mother had cheated! Our perplexed teacher simply responded that it wasn’t a 100% of the time rule (even though she’d essentially taught it as so!) I left that day confused, and content to accept that.
Now back in the present, magazine in hand, I ponder, well in Suri Cruise and Elizabeth Taylor can sport violet hued eyes (actually I’m not 100% sure about Suri’s, but to the naked eye, by way of photographs they’ve certainly looked that way…), a color never discussed in any educational setting I’ve been in, could it be possible for eye color to surprise me in other ways.
Well certainly. I mean look at Kate Bosworth for example—she has two different colored eyes!
(It’s not as though I’m an authority on eyes…)
Fact: Eye color is a fascinating genetic trait and the genes of the parents’ can mix and match in many different ways. Not as simple as a blending of our parents’ colors.
The colored part of the eye is called the iris, and within it lays the pigmentation that determines eye color.
Did you know that, besides the fact that children can have completely different eye colors from their parents, “most babies are born with blue eyes that darken during their first three years. Darkening occurs if melanin, a brown pigment usually not present at birth, develops later with age.”
So over time darker colors do tend to dominate, brown over green, and green over blue.
Some children are born with irises that don’t match in color. (again refer to Kate B.)
“This actually tends to be caused by faulty developmental pigment transport, local trauma either in the womb or shortly after birth or from a benign genetic disorder. Other causes may be inflammation, freckles (diffuse nevus) of the iris, Horner’s syndrome or Heterochromia.
Condition characterized by a small pupil, ptosis and an abnormal lack of facial perspiration (all on the same side of the face); Horner’s syndrome is caused by injury to the sympathetic nerves of the face.”
What on earth is a sympathetic nerve of the face? Another time…another place…
The iris is a muscle that controls pupil size. Pupils enlarge in dimmer settings and do the opposite in bright light.
“Certain emotions can change both the pupil size and the reflection of the iris color. That’s why some people say their eyes change colors when they’re angry or loving. Eye color changes can be a warning sign of certain diseases.”
Source: All About Vision
If you’re intrigued and seeking a little more in depth explanation check out this ehow link and to learn about some stories of people who have eyes described as so, read some of the many personally cases on the Experiment Project’s website section, I Have Eyes That Change Color.
My own eyes don’t do anything particularly special, I certainly don’t share in this phenomenon, alas they only thing mine do is get worse with age. Speaking of getting worse with age,
you won’t believe what happened to British author Candia McWilliam!
You may have heard of people going blind before, but most likely not by her rare condition. She writes about it in her recently published memoir, What To Look For In Winter. For more information please refer to the Goodreads link here.
- What’s Your Natural Hair and Eye Color? (bellasugar.com)