How Rare Are Dark Grey Eyes?

How Rare Are Dark Grey Eyes?

Dark gray eyes are a rare and captivating feature, often drawing intrigue and admiration. Unlike more common eye colors such as brown, blue, or green, dark gray eyes stand out because of their unique and mysterious appearance. This rarity is not only a topic of curiosity but also of scientific interest. This article will explore the prevalence of dark gray eyes and the genetics behind this uncommon eye color.

How Rare Are Gray Eyes?

Gray eyes are the rarest among the eye colors humans have. Only 3% of people in the world have this unique trait. About seven eye colors are found in humans: brown, green, blue, hazel, amber, violet, and gray, with the last two being the most uncommon. Different shades and hues of gray are found in people, ranging from dark gray eyes to gray-blue or gray-green.

When we talk of eye color, we’re actually referring to the iris’ color. The iris is the circular tissue surrounding the black opening (pupil) at its center. The presence or absence of a pigment called melanin determines the color of your iris. Melanin is the same substance that gives color to your hair and skin. Those with brown eyes have more melanin, while those with green, hazel, blue, or gray eyes have less melanin. 

Are Gray Eyes Recessive Or Dominant?

Are Gray Eyes Recessive Or Dominant?

Gray eyes are not a dominant genetic trait, nor are they recessive. Scientists have discovered several genes that determine eye color, most of which also play an important role in a person’s melanin regulation.

Scientists initially believed a person’s eye color depended on the presence of a particular dominant gene, with brown eyes being the most dominant gene. Lighter eye colors like gray, blue, and green were seen as recessive. So, if the gene from one parent were for brown eyes while the other was for green eyes, the child would have brown eyes. This has ultimately been proved wrong.

Are There Different Shades Of Gray Eyes?

The simple answer is yes! There are different shades and hues of gray, like gray-blue, gray-green, or dark gray. The intensity of the gray color also varies. Interestingly, people with gray eyes have also stated how their eye color seems to change depending on factors like their clothing or makeup or the brightness of the ambient light. Even emotions can seem to change the intensity of the gray color, with extreme emotions like anger or grief causing the eyes to look darker. We’ll discuss this in the next subtopic.

Can Gray Eyes Change Color?

As we discussed earlier, gray eyes appear to change color depending on factors like lighting and your dressing. For instance, some lights can make your eyes appear green or blue. One factor that causes gray eyes to change color is medication. Medications can actually change any eye color, making them a bit lighter. However, people with light eye colors are more susceptible, with research carried out on a particular medication affecting about 66% of people with gray eyes, giving them a change in hue.

What Causes Gray Eyes?

We already mentioned how the color of your iris depends on the amount of melanin in your eyes. Melanin is a dark (brown) pigment, and it absorbs light. There are two layers of tissue in your iris, separated by a connective tissue called the stroma. If the two layers of your iris contain large amounts of melanin, they absorb almost all light, and your eyes appear dark (or dark brown). If your iris contains lesser amounts of melanin in these layers, they seem lighter (but will still be brown)

Lighter eye colors like blue and gray contain much less melanin and are usually mostly present in the inner layer of the iris. We know white light is a combination of a spectrum of colors, from red to violet. In gray eyes, the outer layer of the iris contains just enough of the pigment to absorb most of the red and blue light reflected by the inner layer of the iris. Those with dark gray iris have a little more melanin in the outer layer, which absorbs even more light.

But that’s not the only reason gray eyes have that particular color. Scientists also believe the fibers of the stroma (separating the outer and inner layers of the iris) also scatter light in a way that contributes to the gray color of the iris. Genetically, scientists do not know the cause of gray eyes, but they think they’re caused by the same genes that cause blue eyes.

Gray Eyes Vs. Blue Eyes

People usually mistake gray eyes for blue, but they are different. Both have low melanin, causing collagen fibers in the stroma to scatter and absorb longer light wavelengths, reflecting blue light. However, gray eyes have more collagen that scatters more light, similar to a cloudy sky. So gray eyes often appear cloudy, while blue eyes look vivid. 

Blue eyes are usually royal blue or sapphire, lighter outside and darker in the middle. Meanwhile, gray eyes are darker around the edges and lighter in the center, sometimes with brown specks. Blue eyes may have gold or yellow flecks. This unique look makes gray eyes attractive.

Gray Eyes Vs. Green Eyes

Green and gray eyes are more different from each other than blue and gray eyes. Green eyes have a bit more melanin than blue or gray eyes. This causes Rayleigh scattering, which causes the iris to reflect light instead of the pigment in the iris absorbing the light. They also contain a yellow-brown pigment called lipochrome. Interestingly, some gray eyes can have patches of green in the iris, resulting in green-gray eyes.

Risks And Drawbacks Associated With Gray Eyes 

As beautiful as gray eyes are, having them comes with some downsides. We’ll discuss them below.

Light Sensitivity 

Dollger polarized sunglasses

Melanin basically absorbs light. This makes it beneficial to the skin and eyes. And since people with gray eyes have a negligible amount of this pigment, they can’t bear harsh lighting conditions. You may find yourself squinting or experiencing pain when in such an environment. This is called photophobia and is also common with other light-colored eyes like green and blue. Photophobia doesn’t have any long-term effects, and the discomfort is temporary. You can also mitigate this by getting Dollger polarized sunglasses to reduce the light that enters your eyes. These sunglasses also have the added advantage of providing UV protection.

Ocular Melanoma 

Ocular melanoma is a rare but serious type of cancer that develops in the cells that produce pigment (melanin) in the eye. It most commonly occurs in the uvea, the middle layer of the eye, but it can also develop in the conjunctiva, the iris, or other parts of the eye. The uvea comprises the iris (the colored part of the eye), the ciliary body (which releases aqueous humor and controls the lens shape), and the choroid (a layer of blood vessels that provides oxygen and nutrients to the retina). Melanoma can cause a loss of eyesight.

This condition is more likely to develop in people with lighter-colored eyes like gray, blue, or green. Always use polarized sunglasses with UV-blocking abilities to protect your dark gray eye, which we offer at Dollger. Also, use wide-brimmed hats whenever you can.

Skin Cancer

This is more of an indirect correlation. People with gray eyes usually have fair skin, resulting from the absence of melanin in the skin as well. Apart from giving our eyes and skin their, melanin also protects us from the harmful effects of the sun’s UV rays. So, people with fair skin are prone to sunburns, freckles, and even skin cancer. This is not to say people with darker complexions can not develop skin cancer, though.

Benefits of Gray Eyes 

They’re Very Attractive

Gray eyes are beautiful. This is the most obvious perk of having gray eyes, especially dark gray eyes. The way they also seem to change color throughout the day makes them fascinating. That they’re rare definitely makes them more appealing, too.

Less susceptible to certain skin disorders and autoimmune diseases 

People with gray eyes are less likely to suffer from vitiligo. Vitiligo is a skin disorder that occurs when your body’s immune system begins to attack your skin cells that contain melanin. This makes your skin develop random patches of white skin all over your body. Vitiligo is a rare autoimmune disease, and it has been linked to several other medical conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, Type 1 diabetes, lupus, and autoimmune thyroid disease. Scientists believe the probability of developing these autoimmune diseases is lower for people with gray eyes.

Stronger Eyes

People with gray eyes often have more collagen in the cornea's stroma, making their eyes stronger. Collagen helps to reinforce the cornea and enhance its curvature, especially in areas where the corneal layers are thinner. This extra fortification helps maintain the shape of the eye.

Other possible benefits of gray eyes 

People with light-colored eyes, such as gray or blue eyes, can typically consume more alcohol than people with dark eyes. This is because individuals with dark eyes are generally more sensitive to alcohol and become intoxicated more easily, which leads them to drink less. This difference was highlighted in a 2001 study of over 12,000 people, which found that people with light-colored eyes tend to drink more alcohol compared to those with dark eyes.

Also, people with gray eyes and those with other light-colored eyes can be less sensitive to medications than people with dark eyes. This difference in sensitivity is believed to be related to the amount of melanin in the body. Melanin can bind to certain medications, potentially affecting their absorption and effectiveness. Since people with light-colored eyes generally have less melanin, the binding capacity is lower, possibly reducing sensitivity to certain medications.

Finally, some research suggests that women with light-colored eyes may experience less pain and anxiety during childbirth compared to those with dark-colored eyes. This could be related to genetic and physiological differences, but more research is needed to understand the mechanisms involved fully.

What Glasses Suit Dark Gray Eyes?

What glasses suit dark gray eyes?

Glasses that suit dark gray eyes are often those that enhance their unique and striking appearance. Frames in colors that contrast with or complement dark gray eyes work best. Consider these options:

  1. Bold Colors: Frames in bold colors like deep blue, rich purple, or emerald green can make dark gray eyes stand out.
  2. Neutral Tones: Black, charcoal, or dark brown frames provide a sophisticated look and highlight the natural beauty of gray eyes.
  3. Metallic Frames: Silver, gunmetal, or even gold frames add a touch of elegance and can enhance the depth of dark gray eyes.
  4. Tortoiseshell: This classic pattern, with its mix of colors, can provide a warm contrast to gray eyes, adding interest without overwhelming the eye color.

Ultimately, the best choice depends on your personal style and preferences, but these options can enhance the unique appeal of dark gray eyes. You can check out our catalog of stylish Dollger eyeglasses to find the ideal glasses for you.

Final Note

Dark gray eyes are uncommon and fascinating, attracting interest in their unique appearance. But as you know, they come with perks and downsides. Whether seen as a genetic marvel or a symbol of individuality, these eyes highlight the beauty and complexity found in human traits. We can all agree that they’re a captivating subject of study and admiration.

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