Michelle Calder, O.D., is the owner and lead optometrist at Urban Optiques in Northville, MI.

Your eye color does not significantly affect the sharpness of your vision. However, the amount of melanin present in your iris can affect visual discomfort in certain situations.

The density of melanin in your iris determines what colors of light are absorbed or reflected. The higher the concentration of melanin in the iris, the darker the iris color. This means that those with darker colored eyes experience less visual discomfort in bright, sunny conditions because the higher concentration of pigment cells in their irises acts as an internal-sun shade, dissipating more sunlight and radiation.  Darker irises also reflect less light within the eye, reducing susceptibility to glare and improving contrast discernment. Thus, it seems that people with darker eyes may have better vision in high-glare situations, such as driving at night.

Light-colored eyes, on the other hand, lack the same kind of protection.  More harmful UV light can pass through lighter colored irises, which may increase your risk for developing cataracts and macular degeneration.  However, wearing sunglasses with UV-blocking lenses can reduce these risk factors and help all eyes stay healthy over the long haul.

Some recent studies have also suggested that eye color affects our reaction time. Lighter-eyed people generally did better on self-paced tasks, such as bowling and golf, while darker-eyed people performed better on reactive tasks, like boxing and hitting a tennis ball.

Whether you have dark- or light- colored eyes, get in the habit of protecting them with  UV-blocking lenses. Your VSP doctor can help you choose the lenses that are best for your eyes.

The content of this article is for general informational awareness purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult your eyecare doctor or physician for actual advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This article is the work of the attributed author and does not necessarily represent the views or opinions of VSP. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.

Ask the Eye Doc

Have a question for one of our experts? Ask it here! Remember, due to the volume of questions submitted, we may not be able to answer all of the questions that come in. But keep an eye out for upcoming articles to see if we answered your question!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Michelle Calder, O.D., is the owner and lead optometrist at Urban Optiques in Northville, MI.