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Hazel Eyes: Advantages, Disadvantages & More

Hazel-colored eyes are often described as light brown, greenish-brown, golden, and hazel. 

Like the color of the hazelnut, this color is unique and variable. It may contain flecks or flickers of other colors, which cause the iris to feature shades of blue, amber, green, or even orange.

Hazel eyes are rare, and this may contribute to why so many people want to achieve this attractive color. If you are born with hazel eyes, you are among 5 percent of the world population to have this desirable coloration.

What Causes Hazel Eyes?

The color of the eye is related to the amount of melanin you have in your body. Melanin is a naturally occurring pigment that influences the color of your eyes, skin, and hair. 

People who have the most melanin have brown eyes. While people with the least melanin have blue, gray, or green eyes. Hazel eyes are the result of a moderate amount of pigment, less than brown but more than blue.

In hazel eyes, the inner part of the eye sometimes appears lighter, and sometimes, it is the outer portion of the iris that appears lighter. This is caused by a phenomenon called Rayleigh scattering, the same optical effect that causes the sky to appear blue.

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How Common Are Hazel Eyes?

According to World Atlas, hazel eyes are a rare color, estimated to be in only 5 percent of the global population. This translates to approximately 64 million people with hazel eyes around the world.

About 18 percent of people in the United States have hazel-colored eyes. 

What Hazel Eyes Look Like

Hazel is a broad name that covers a lot of colors in the spectrum of green and brown.

Hazel eyes are often described as unique because they feature a combination of colors. They are often divided into two groups: hazel green or hazel brown.

The combination varies with each individual, and hazel is often modified with the main impression, such as golden, light brown, or greenish-brown. 

Hazel eyes may also seem to change colors and have shades of other colors such as amber, blue or green. This coloration appears to be somewhat mysterious, as these colors are not based on pigments present in the human eye.

About 75 percent of hazel eyes have a dark brown ring around them. The center iris often looks tinted with gold, green, or yellow hues.

Hazel Eyes & Eye Health

Certain links have been drawn between eye color and eye health. 

Advantages of Hazel Eyes

The levels of melanin in hazel eyes may offer some benefits to the brain. People with hazel eyes appear to be less likely to have nerve damage from environmental noise than people with blue eyes. 

There are some beliefs that people with hazel eyes tend to have a more positive outlook on things. Hazel eye color is also popularly connected with imagination, creativity, and exceptional communication skills. 

Disadvantages of Hazel Eyes

People with hazel eyes may be more sensitive to bright lights and sunshine than people with brown eyes. 

People with hazel eyes may be more at risk for anxiety disorders and behavioral issues

Which Celebrities Have Hazel Eyes?

Popular celebrities with hazel eyes include Angelina Jolie, Jude Law, Ben Affleck, Demi Moore, Steve Carrell, Jada Pinkett Smith, Brooke Shields, and Rebel Wilson. 

How Do Hazel Eyes Get Their Color?

Eye color is genetically inherited from parents, and there are multiple genes responsible for the color of a child’s eyes. Recent studies confirm that 16 genes may be involved in determining eye color.

The color of your eyes depends on the amount of melanin, a pigment in the eye. The pigment is present in the front part of the iris. People with hazel eyes have more pigment than people with blue eyes but less than people with brown eyes.

How to Change Your Eye Color

A poll by 1-800 Contacts, found that 17.1 percent of hazel-eyed respondents wished for another eye color. This group was the second most group desiring a color change, just behind brown-eyed respondents.

If you want to change your hazel eyes, color contact lenses could help you achieve your dreams of a temporary change in eye color. Depending on your natural coloring, you may want to experiment to find the best choice. 

For instance, very light eyes can change color with an enhancement tint. These are translucent contacts that let some of your natural coloring come through. 

On the other hand, if you don’t have hazel eyes but wish you did, you can get them with colored contacts. Your choices also depend on how deep your eyes are naturally colored. 

If your eyes are a very light color, you may be able to achieve a hazel effect with an enhancement tint. If you have darker eyes, you may need an opaque tint to achieve the effect of hazel. 

Colored contact lenses require a prescription. If you don’t already have a prescription for contacts or eyewear, get an eye exam from an optometrist. An eye care professional can help you achieve your goals and choose the contacts that will give you the best results. 

10 Facts About Hazel Eyes 

We’ve outlined 10 fast facts about hazel eyes:

  1. It’s been said that people with hazel eyes have exceptional social and communication skills. While controlled studies haven’t replicated this, many people find this to be true anecdotally.
  2. Studies show that women with hazel eyes may have a lower pain tolerance than individuals with blue or green eyes.
  3. According to the World Atlas, 5 percent of the world population has hazel eyes.
  4. The color of hazel eyes can appear somewhat different depending on the color of clothing someone wears and how light reflects.
  5. Scientists often use the term chameleon to describe the changeable quality of hazel eyes.
  6. Hazel contact lenses are very popular, as a lot of people crave this unique eye color.
  7. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, hazel eyes contain more pigment and melanin than blue eyes but less than brown eyes.
  8. Hazel eyes refer to a range of colors, such as gold, green, and orange, often with flecks of color.
  9. About three-quarters of hazel eyes are rimmed with a dark brown ring, with the center featuring more golden, brown, or green coloration.
  10. According to the World Atlas, hazel-colored eyes are most commonly found in North Africa, the Middle East, and Brazil as well as in people of Spanish ancestry.


  1. Eye Color: Unique as a Fingerprint. American Academy of Ophthalmology.

  2. The World’s Population by Eye Color. World Atlas.

  3. The World’s Population by Eye Color. World Atlas.

  4. Eye Colors: Rarest Eye Color, Baby Eye Color, Heterochromia. Cleveland Clinic.

  5. Blue Sky and Raleigh Scattering. Hyperphysics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Georgia State University.

  6. 30+ Hazel Eyes Facts With Its Scientific Causes You Must Know. Find Motivation.

  7. Does Eye Color Indicate Intelligence or Personality? What Are Your Eyes Telling the World? Owlcation.

  8. What Your Eye Color Says About Your Alcohol and Pain Tolerance. (February 2019). Arizona Retina Project.

  9. Is Eye Color Determined by Genetics? MedlinePlus Genetics.

  10. The Science Behind Eye Color. Facty.

  11. Myths of Human Genetics. University of Delaware (UD).

  12. In the Eye of the Beholder. 1-800 Contacts.

  13. Can Eye Color Predict Pain Tolerance? University of Pittsburgh.

  14. What Your Eye Color Says About Your Health. (July 2015). Cosmopolitan.

Last Updated July 20, 2022

Note: This page should not serve as a substitute for professional medical advice from a doctor or specialist. Please review our about page for more information.

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