Do you think eye color affects vision?

  • I'm not sure. (29%)
  • No, that's silly. (35%)
  • Yes, of course. (35%)
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In April, we published the poll, “Do you think eye color affects vision?” And it appears EnVision readers think it’s a bit silly that eye color would affect your vision. The truth? It kind of does!

Matter of Fact

Eye color doesn’t significantly affect the sharpness of your vision, but it can affect visual comfort in certain situations. It all comes down to the density of the pigment melanin within your iris, which determines what colors of light are absorbed or reflected. Simply put: The higher the concentration of melanin pigment in the iris, the darker the eye color. And a higher concentration of pigmented cells within the iris acts as an internal sun-shade, dissipating more sunlight and radiation.

Brown Eyes vs. Baby Blues

Those with darker colored eyes experience less visual discomfort in bright, sunny conditions. Also, darker irises reflect less light within the eye, reducing susceptibility to glare and improving contrast discernment—so people with darker eyes may have better vision in high-glare situations, such as driving at night.

On the flipside, by having a low concentration of melanin pigment, light-colored eyes lack the additional protection.  More harmful UV light can pass through lighter colored irises, increasing your risk for developing cataracts and macular degeneration.  Wearing sunglasses with UV-blocking lenses can help reduce these risk factors!

Protect Your Eyes

So even though the color of your eyes should not affect how clearly you see, it may affect your eyes’ sensitivity to the sun. Regardless of your eye color, whether they are dark or light, it’s important to get in the habit of protecting them with sunglasses. Find an eye doctor near you to help determine the best type of sunglasses to fit your needs and lifestyle, or shop Eyeconic for the perfect pair—so you never have to worry about getting caught in the sun unprotected.

And guess what? May is Healthy Vision Month! All the more reason to treat yourself to new shades and guard your eyes—no matter the color—from harmful sunrays. Boost your eye health this month (and for the long haul!) with this article: Easy ways to keep your eyes healthy. Plus, with summer around the corner, be sure to check out these 5 tips for saving your eyes from the sun.

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!
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This article was adapted from a previous EnVision article. The content of this article is for general informational awareness purposes only. Please consult your eye care 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.
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Dr. Matt Alpert is the owner and lead optometrist at Alpert Vision Care in Woodland Hills, CA.