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Are Purple Eyes Real? Uncover the Truth Behind This Rare Eye Color

May 17,2024 | MYEYEBB

Many have wondered if purple eyes are a myth or a rare reality. In truth, the occurrence of genuine purple eyes is an extraordinary event, tied to a complex interplay of genetic and environmental factors. Are purple eyes real? Yes, but they are a rare phenomenon, and their existence tells a fascinating story of genetics and individual uniqueness.
Purple eyes are extremely rare and can result from genetic mutations, albinism, or inflammation like uveitis, rather than fictional accounts like Alexandria’s Genesis. Eye color is determined by melanin levels in the iris and light scattering in the stroma, with purple eyes potentially appearing due to light reflecting off red blood vessels combined with low melanin production. Associated health risks with purple eyes include conditions such as uveitis which can change eye color and impact vision, and albinism which requires extra sun protection due to lower melanin levels.

The Reality of Purple Eyes

Exceedingly rare, purple eyes exist in less than 1% of the global population. These unique eyes, presenting shades of purple, violet, or lavender, can be attributed to factors such as specific genetic mutations, internal eye inflammation, or albinism.
The mystical allure of purple eyes has sparked numerous tales, but the reality lies in the science of our biology.

Natural Occurrence

Purple eyes can occur naturally due to genetic mutations, albinism, or inflammation inside the eye. Certain genetic mutations are known to result in purple eyes. Alternatively, albinism, characterized by reduced melanin production, can lead to an array of eye colors, including purple.
Uveitis, an inflammation of the middle layer of the eye, can alter the eye’s appearance, presenting a purple hue.

Myth vs. Fact

One of the most popular myths surrounding purple eyes is Alexandria’s Genesis, an online tale of a genetic mutation leading to purple eyes. However, this condition is purely fictional, with no scientific evidence to back it up.
Contrarily, there exist natural conditions that can cause natural purple eyes, firmly rooting the existence of purple eyes in reality.

The Science Behind Eye Colors

Eyes are the windows to the soul, and their colors tell fascinating stories. The color of our eyes is determined by the pigmentation of the iris, which is influenced by our genetic makeup, and the scattering of light in the stroma. Melanin, the substance responsible for the color of our hair, skin, and eyes, plays a key role in this process.
Some common eye colors include:
  • Brown
  • Blue
  • Green, often referred to as green eyes
  • Hazel
  • Gray, often referred to as gray eyes
Each eye color has its own unique characteristics and can vary in shade and intensity.
In the case of violet or purple eyes, light reflecting off red blood vessels can influence the perceived color of the iris, lending it a violet or lavender hue, which is distinct from the light blue shade often seen in other eyes, such as those with purple irises.

Melanin and Iris Color

Melanin levels in the iris are a significant determinant of eye color. Little melanin absorption results in blue eyes, while a higher concentration in the stroma of the iris gives rise to brown eyes. Genes like OCA2 and HERC2 play a significant role in the distribution of melanin in the iris, thereby influencing eye colors.
Albinism, a condition with little to no melanin production, can lead to purple eyes due to the iris’s translucency.

Genetic Factors

Eye color is not as straightforward as we might think. It’s not a simple matter of one gene for blue eyes and another for brown. In fact, as many as 16 genes have been associated with eye color inheritance, making it a polygenic trait. This complex interplay of genes also allows for genetic mutations that result in individuals having different eye colors from their family members. Some common eye colors include:
It’s important to note that eye color can also be influenced by other factors such as lighting and the presence of certain medical conditions.

Associated Conditions and Risks

The world of purple eyes is not just about beauty and rarity; it’s also about understanding the potential risks and conditions associated with this unique eye color. Certain eye conditions if left untreated can lead to the eyes changing color, resulting in a purple or lavender appearance. Conditions like uveitis can lead to inflammation and even vision loss, while genetic mutations may cause disorders like lymphedema-distichiasis syndrome or ocular melanoma.
Regardless of their hue’s unique origin, those with purple eyes should be aware of potential side effects and risks associated with purple eye syndrome, seeking medical attention for any concerning symptoms.

Lymphedema-Distichiasis Syndrome

Lymphedema-distichiasis syndrome is a condition caused by mutations in the FOXC2 gene. This autosomal dominant condition can manifest as lymphedema, typically developing during puberty, and distichiasis, characterized by abnormal growth of eyelashes. Symptoms can vary, with some individuals not experiencing lymphedema but presenting other symptoms such as distichiasis, intellectual impairment, and glomuvenous malformations.
The FOXC2 gene plays a significant role in various developmental aspects of this syndrome, including less common features like varicose veins and congenital heart disease.

Uveitis and Inflammation

Uveitis, particularly Fuchs uveitis syndrome, can cause inflammation in different parts of the eye. This inflammation can lead to changes in eye color, resulting in blue or purple hues.
The transformation of eye color due to uveitis, such as purple coloration, showcases the potential impact of this inflammatory condition on eye pigmentation.

Albinism and Eye Health

Albinism is a condition characterized by a lack of melanin, leading to lighter eye colors like purple. Lighter eye colors offer less natural protection from the sun’s harmful rays, making individuals with albinism, who often have light skin, more susceptible to sun damage compared to those with dark skin.
As a result, they often require extra protection from sunlight to maintain their skin, body hair, and eye health.

Famous Purple Eyes: Elizabeth Taylor

When discussing purple eyes, one cannot fail to mention the iconic Elizabeth Taylor. Despite popular belief, however, Elizabeth Taylor’s eyes were not naturally purple but a dark blue shade. Variations in light reflection, coupled with the specific circumstances of photography, contributed to the fluctuating violet appearance seen in different photos and scenes.
Moreover, her choice of makeup and wardrobe often played a role in enhancing the violet tones of her violet eyes.

Cultural Significance of Purple Eyes

From antiquity to the present day, purple eyes have held a special place in our cultures. The color purple has historically been associated with royalty, divinity, and wealth, particularly in ancient Rome. Native American cultures revered purple eyes as a sign of protection against evil.
In contemporary society, purple eyes are often seen as mysterious, alluring, and a symbol of strength and intelligence, while blue eyed people may also possess their own unique charm. Interestingly, pink eyes can be observed as a rare and captivating feature in some individuals.

Achieving Purple Eyes Safely

For those enchanted by the allure of purple eyes, there is a safe and temporary way to achieve this look. Colored contact lenses can be used to mimic the appearance of purple eyes. However, it’s crucial to remember that a prescription from an eye doctor is required for colored contact lenses, even if vision correction is not needed.
Always consult with an eye doctor for a vision assessment before trying colored contact lenses.

To Conclude:

In the mesmerizing world of purple eyes, we’ve traversed the realms of biology, genetics, history, and culture. We’ve debunked myths, explored the science behind eye colors, understood associated conditions and risks, and even learned how to safely achieve the look of purple eyes. As we conclude, we leave you with a newfound appreciation for the rarity and mystique of purple eyes, a testament to the remarkable diversity of human biology.

People Also Ask

Are purple eyes real?

Yes, purple eyes are real, but they are extremely rare, occurring in less than 1% of the global population.

Was Elizabeth Taylor's eye color purple?

No, Elizabeth Taylor's actual eye color was a deep shade of blue, not purple.

Can I safely achieve purple eyes?

Yes, you can safely achieve the look of purple eyes by using colored contact lenses with a prescription and proper fitting from an eye doctor.