They say the eyes are the window to the soul, but it turns out they’re also a window to a whole lot more.
Did you know that having brown eyes could mean you have a faster reaction time than someone with blue eyes? And green eyes could be a sign that you’re more likely to develop eye cancer?
Some scientists and researchers claim the colour of your eyes really can predict your likelihood of having certain health problems.
Grey, green and blue eyes
“Clinically speaking, people with blue or light-coloured irises do tend to be more light-sensitive,” Ruth Williams, MD, president-elect of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and an ophthalmologist at the Wheaton Eye Clinic in Chicago told Everyday Health.
“This is likely due to the sparsity of light-absorbing pigment in the eye.” Having lighter-coloured eyes - grey, green and blue - could mean an increased risk of cancer.
The reason is that lighter eyes have less pigment to protect them from UV rays, and so there’s a greater lifetime risk for melanoma of the uvea (the middle layer of the eye), which is an extremely rare cancer.
“People with light iris colour need to be diligent in wearing UV-protected sunglasses,” advises Dr. Williams.
What’s more, people with lighter eyes are usually fair-skinned too, so are often at higher risk of skin cancers.
According to a study by the University of Louisville, people with brown eyes have slightly quicker reaction times during certain athletic activities than those with light eyes.
But the findings weren’t strong enough to be conclusive: “In my experience, I couldn’t say we can judge performance based on eye colour,” says optometrist Guadalupe Mejia, OD, of the University of Louisville.
The worst jobs for your health
The worst jobs for your health
1/10 10. Surgical and medical assistants, technologists, and technicians
Overall unhealthiness score: 57.3 What they do: Assist in operations, under the supervision of surgeons, registered nurses, or other surgical personnel and perform medical laboratory tests. Top three health risks: 1. Exposure to disease and infections: 88 2. Exposure to contaminants: 80 3. Exposure to hazardous conditions: 69
2/10 9. Stationary engineers and boiler operators
Overall unhealthiness score: 57.7 What they do: Operate or maintain stationary engines, boilers, or other mechanical equipment to provide utilities for buildings or industrial processes. Top three health risks: 1. Exposure to contaminants: 99 2. Exposure to hazardous conditions: 89 3. Exposure to minor burns, cuts, bites, or stings: 84
3/10 8. Water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators
Overall unhealthiness score: 58.2 What they do: Operate or control an entire process or system of machines, often through the use of control boards, to transfer or treat water or wastewater. Top three health risks: 1. Exposure to contaminants: 97 2. Exposure to hazardous conditions: 80 3. Exposure to minor burns, cuts, bites, or stings: 74
4/10 7. Histotechnologists and histologic technicians
Overall unhealthiness score: 59.0 What they do: Prepare histologic slides from tissue sections for microscopic examination and diagnosis by pathologists. Top three health risks: 1. Exposure to hazardous conditions: 88 2. Exposure to contaminants: 76 3. Exposure to disease and infections: 75
5/10 6. Immigration and customs inspectors
Overall unhealthiness score: 59.3 What they do: Investigate and inspect people, common carriers, goods, and merchandise, arriving in or departing from the US or between states to detect violations of immigration and customs laws and regulations. Top three health risks: 1. Exposure to contaminants: 78 2. Exposure to disease and infections: 63 3. Exposure to radiation: 62
6/10 5. Podiatrists
Overall unhealthiness score: 60.2 What they do: Diagnose and treat diseases and deformities of the human foot. Top three health risks: 1. Exposure to disease and infections: 87 2. Exposure to radiation: 69 3. Exposure to contaminants: 67
7/10 4. Veterinarians, veterinary assistants, and laboratory animal caretakers and veterinary technologists and technicians
What they do: Diagnose, treat, or research diseases and injuries of animals and perform medical tests in a laboratory environment for use in the treatment and diagnosis of diseases in animals. Top three health risks: 1. Exposure to disease and infections: 81 2. Exposure to minor burns, cuts, bites, or stings: 75 3. Exposure to contaminants: 74
8/10 3. Anesthesiologists, nurse anesthetists, and anesthesiologist assistants
Overall unhealthiness score: 62.3 What they do: Administer anesthetics or sedatives during medical procedures, and help patients in recovering from anesthesia. Top three health risks: 1. Exposure to disease and infections: 94 2. Exposure to contaminants: 80 3. Exposure to radiation: 74
9/10 2. Flight attendants
What they do: Provide personal services to ensure the safety, security, and comfort of airline passengers during flight. Greet passengers, verify tickets, explain use of safety equipment, and serve food or beverages. Top three health risks: 1. Exposure to contaminants: 88 2. Exposure to disease and infections: 77 3. Exposure to minor burns, cuts, bites, or stings: 69
10/10 1. Dentists, dental surgeons, and dental assistants
Overall unhealthiness score: 65.4 What they do: Examine, diagnose, and treat diseases, injuries, and malformations of teeth and gums. May treat diseases of nerve, pulp, and other dental tissues affecting oral hygiene and retention of teeth. May fit dental appliances or provide preventive care. Top three health risks: 1. Exposure to contaminants: 84 2. Exposure to disease and infections: 75 3. Time spent sitting: 67
The findings come despite previous studies suggesting that eye colour is not in fact an accurate predictor of health risks.
It’s important to keep, well, an eye on your eyes for any changes though - look out for the whites of your eyes turning red or yellow, the pupils becoming hazy or the corneal ring turning white.
These changes in appearance may be a sign of underlying conditions that should be checked out by a doctor.
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