What’s So Special About Green Eyes?


When you meet someone, what’s the first thing you notice? For many of us, the answer is simple: the eyes have it!

Eye color is one of the most striking features on any person. And there is something particularly magical about green eyes… like two sparkling gems looking back at you.

But is there more to green eyes than just looking pretty? As it turns out, there are a number of things that make this eye color very special.

Where do green eyes come from?

We’ve put together a solid guide to what is so special about green eyes. First, though, it’s important to outline what makes eyes actually appear green.

As with any other color, green eye color comes down to pigmentation. Pigments are located on the surface of the iris. Different pigmentation helps make certain eyes look green. And both the amount of pigment and the angle of light can affect the appearance (which is why hazel eyes can look either brown or green in different circumstances).

Different pigments can change the color of your eye. Without pigments such as melanin, eyes generally look blue. That’s why most infants have blue eyes — it takes time for pigments to creep in and start changing the eye color.

By itself, melanin is a brownish pigment. But when it mixes with the yellowish pigment lipochrome and blue eyes, you get the green appearance. Which isn’t that surprising, really — even small children quickly discover that mixtures of blue and yellow create green. And the amount of brown melanin is one reason why there are many different shades of green eye coloration.

How rare are green eyes?

It always feels special when you meet someone with green eyes. But have you ever wondered how many people have green eyes?

The amount is shockingly low. You are far more likely to encounter brown eyes when meeting someone new because a whopping 79% of the population has them! Even blue eyes, which most people consider special, are limited to about 8% of the population.

Hazel eyes, which we mentioned earlier, are limited to about 5% of the population. And believe it or not, the same percentage of the world has amber eyes!

So, what percentage of people have green eyes? It’s actually only 2% of the global population. And if you’ve been doing the math, that remaining 1% of people have grey eyes, red eyes, violet eyes, etc. This can be caused by anything from low melanin levels to conditions such as albinism.

What do green eyes mean?

Eyes have always played an important role in our culture. After all, entire songs and poems have been written for millennia to describe how beautiful someone’s eyes are. With that being said, what do green eyes actually mean?

Some people think green eyes mean a person is jealous. You can blame William Shakespeare for that, as the Bard described jealousy as a “green-eyed monster.” More positively, some people think those with green eyes are mysterious — which likely stems from the fact that meeting a person with green eyes is rare.

There are plenty of other qualities that people associate with green eyes, including intelligence, passion, and creativity. However, there is no real scientific link between personality traits and eye color. As with their other qualities, a person’s actual personality stems from a combination of genetics and upbringing.

Where can you find green eyes?

If you were traveling around the world, exactly where would you be likely to find green eyes? Contrary to popular belief, green eyes are scattered all over the planet!

One of the weirder stereotypes about green eyes is that only people with lighter-colored skin can have them. The truth is that green eyes are not limited by race. You can find green eyes in places like Africa, Iran, and Brazil just as easily as you can find them in Russia or Sweden. In short, anyone you meet and any place you travel to has a chance of having green eyes.

That being said, you are likelier to encounter green eyes in some countries than others. Denmark, Norway, and Sweden lead the planet when it comes to citizens with green eyes. Finland and Iceland also have many green-eyed residents as well as those with blue eyes. In fact, 90% of the population in those countries is rocking lighter eye colors (which includes blue and grey along with green).

Who has green eyes in ‘Game of Thrones’?

While the last season was controversial, Game of Thrones was a genuine cultural phenomenon for the better part of a decade. And one particular plotline in the show had fans paying very close attention to who had green eyes.

The mysterious and magical Melisandre offered a prophecy to fan-favorite character Arya. She told Arya that would encounter someone with brown eyes and someone with green eyes and shut those eyes forever (presumably by killing them).

Arya fulfilled the first part of the prophecy by killing brown-eyed Walder Frey, paying him back for the betrayal of her family. Fans waited for her to take out someone with green eyes. The obvious candidates were Cersei Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen.

Ultimately, Arya did not kill either one of them. But does that mean the prophecy was unfulfilled? Not necessarily: some felt it may have referred to Littlefinger, a character she killed in an earlier season. In the Song of Ice and Fire books, Littlefinger is described as having green eyes.

Famous people with green eyes

As rare as green eyes are, a surprising number of celebrities have green eyes. This includes actors Emma Stone, Scarlett Johansson, Clive Owen, Channing Tatum, Julianne Moore, Kristen Stewart, Jon Hamm, Drew Barrymore, Elizabeth Olsen, and even royalty like Kate Middleton.

Do green eyes give people an advantage? It may be so. After all, green eyes were considered the most attractive eye color in a poll by AllAboutVision.com. If you have this rare eye color, celebrate it!