What’s So Special About Gray Eyes?


Gray eyes are a constant source of mystery and fascination. Gray eyes have been described as everything from sexy to brooding to passionate. But what’s the real story behind gray eyes?

We’ve consulted everything from science to Shakespeare in order to figure out what’s so special about gray eyes. And after you learn the full story, you’ll never stare at a pair of gray eyes the same again!

Where do gray eyes come from?

When it comes to other eye colors, there is a specific science behind the exact shade. For example, the exact concentration of melanin helps determine if your eyes are brown, blue, green, and so on.

But what about people with gray eyes? In that case, the scientific verdict is still out.

For example, dark gray eyes might come from a little melanin in the front of the iris dimming what would be blue eyes into a dark gray color. Light gray may come from a similar process, but one involving even less melanin in the iris.

So far, though, these are just theories. And it seems if there wasn’t more too it, gray eyes wouldn’t be so rare throughout the world.

How rare are gray eyes?

When it comes to unique eye colors, it’s natural to ask the question, “Are gray eyes rare?” The answer is “about as rare as it gets!”

Recent research suggests that less than one percent of the world’s population actually has gray eyes. If you think the color is more common, this is most likely a trick of the light.

It’s easy to confuse light blue eyes with gray eyes. But the truth is that even in areas where gray eyes are more common, it’s still extraordinarily rare to find this shade in the wild.

What do gray eyes mean?

We tend to ascribe a lot of cultural meaning to specific eye color. For example, we associate green eyes with envy. Sorry, green-eyed folks — you can blame Shakespeare for that.

So, what do gray eyes mean around the world? As you might expect, the meaning has changed a bit over the years.

Back in ancient Greece, gray eyes were associated with wisdom. This is because the mythological figure Athena had gray eyes and was the goddess of wisdom (among other things). Millennia later, there were more negative superstitions about gray eyes, including that they mean someone is greedy. 

Fortunately, due to their rarity, the gray eyes meaning for modern people is quite positive. These eyes are associated with faithfulness, attention, and freedom.

Gray-eyed people are not vampires (we promise)

If you do know someone with gray eyes, you might have noticed some interesting behavior and personality traits. For example, they may like to avoid sunlight, stay up drinking wine, and even enjoy dominating other people in competitions.

Does this mean your gray-eyed friend is a vampire? No: it just means their eyes have caused an interesting set of genetic predispositions.

Someone with gray eyes (especially light gray eyes) may be more sensitive to light. This can happen with anyone who has light eyes and may cause them to shun the sunlight — or, at the very least, bring shades wherever they go.

Your gray-eyed friend may also like to pack away the alcohol. They aren’t just being a lush, though: alcohol may have less of an effect on them unless they drink more than the average.

Finally, studies suggest that those with lighter eyes (including, but not limited to, gray eyes) may be more competitive. This can be very fun or very annoying depending on whether you’re on their team or not!

There you have it: no vampire worries needed. So unless your gray-eyed friend is drinking blood, you can probably put down that wooden stake!

Where can you find gray eyes?

Earlier, we mentioned that some areas of the world have more gray-eyed people than other areas. Where, then, can you find natural grey eyes in your travels around the world?

Generally speaking, you can mostly find gray eyes in Europe. Not just anywhere in Europe, though: you’ll need to scope out Northern and Eastern Europe for the best chance of finding gray eyes naturally.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t find gray eyes any closer, of course. Those with European ancestry always have a chance of manifesting gray eyes. Although among people with European ancestors, it’s still a lot more common to find green, hazel, or blue eyes than it is to find gray ones.

Don’t fret if you still haven’t seen anyone with gray eyes, though. The sheer mystery surrounding this unique shade is what makes these eyes so sexy and endearing. And if nothing else, you’re probably aware of some very famous people with gray eyes!

Famous people with gray eyes

Many famous faces have gray eyes. Some are lighter, some are darker, and some are even tinged with a bit of blue.

Oscar-winning actor Jared Leto (who just so happens to be playing a vampire in Morbius) and has some very piercing gray eyes. Maybe his gray eyes helped him get the role?

Transformers star Megan Fox also has a pair of stunning gray eyes that help to make her a unique beauty. Be on the lookout for them next time you see her on the big screen!

Related: What’s So Special About Green Eyes?