structure image Facts About Brown Eyes


How Common Are Brown Eyes? 

Brown eyes are the most common of all eye colors around the world. But they’re not all the same shade — some people have light brown eyes, some have dark brown eyes, and some have a shade somewhere in between. 

How Many People Have Brown Eyes? 

An estimated 70% to 80% of people worldwide have brown eyes. The color is especially prevalent in Asia and Africa, while it occurs in about half the U.S. population.  


It’s believed that all humans had brown-colored eyes as recently as 10,000 years ago. Around that point, a genetic mutation occurred and resulted in the first person being born with blue eyes. 

What Causes Brown Eyes? 

Parents’ eye colors play a part in determining their children’s eye colors, but there’s more to it than that. Brown eyes occur due to genetic factors, DNA mutations, and a pigment called melanin. 

How Do Brown Eyes Get Their Color? 

Your eye color is determined melanin the colored part of your eye). Melanin is a natural pigment that is responsible for the color of your hair, skin, and eyes. The more melanin you have, the darker skin, hair, and eyes you’ll have.    


Genetics also play a major role in eye color. Scientists have now identified dozens of genes (and genetic mutations) that contribute to eye color. It’s possible for an eye color gene to skip generations, too. 


So, are brown eyes dominant? While it was previously believed this was the case, it’s now understood that eye color genes are much more complex way than once thought.  

Different Shades of Brown Eyes 

From light colors to dark hues, there are several types of brown eyes. While they vary in color, each falls under the main category of brown. 


Some different shades of brown eyes include: 

  • Light brown, including golden and amber brown eyes 
  • Medium brown, including russet and chestnut brown eyes 
  • Dark brown, including chocolate and black-brown eyes 

The color range is wide, and you may identify with a different color entirely than those listed above. Some hazel eyes can also appear more brown, but hazel is still considered a different eye color made up of multiple hues.  

Advantages and Limitations of Having Brown Eyes 

The pros and cons of having dark eyes are related to both eye health and aesthetics.  


Lower Risk for Certain Eye Disease 

Having more pigment may offer some protection against certain eye diseases. Diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) are seen more in people with lighter-colored eyes than in people with brown-colored eyes. 

  Less Light Sensitivity 

Brown eyes are less sensitive to sunlight and fluorescent lights than blue eyes. Since they have more pigmentation, brown-colored eyes are able to block out more bright indoor and outdoor lighting.  


But this doesn’t mean you can skip ultraviolet (UV) eye protection! UV radiation is a danger to everyone, no matter what color eyes you have. Be sure to wear sunglasses with 100% UVA-UVB protection whenever you go outside. 


Higher Risk for Cataracts 

Researchers have found that having dark brown eyes can contribute to your risk of developing cataracts (more so than lighter eye colors). Regardless of eye color, you should use proper ultraviolet protection, as UV exposure also increases the risk of developing cataracts. 

  Less Aesthetically Pleasing 

According to numerous surveys, people tend to prefer light-colored eyes like blue, green, and gray over brown-colored eyes. But this is subjective, so don’t feel too discouraged if you have brown eyes! You can also opt for colored contacts if you so desire, but you’ll need a prescription to ensure a proper fit (even if you don’t need vision correction).  

Take Care of Your Brown Eyes 

No matter what color your eyes are, it’s essential to take good care of them. Annual eye exams allow your eye doctor to check your eye health and vision on a regular basis. An exam is the best way to detect eye disease in both children and adults, and a contact lens fitting will ensure your contact lens prescription is up to date.  


If you experience any eye issues or vision changes, don’t hesitate to call your eye doctor. It’s not too early to make an appointment, even if it’s not time for your annual exam.