What Your Eye Color Says About Your Health

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The darker your eyes appear, the more UV-protection you’re born with, says ophthalmologist Ivan Schwab, M.D., clinical spokesperson for theAmericanAcademy of Ophthalmology. (That doesn’t mean you can skip sunscreen and sunglasses — everyone can benefit from those UV-blockers, Dr. Schwab says.) You’re less likely than light-eyed people to develop eye and skin cancer, and cataracts (clouding of the eye’s lens).

Hazel Irises

Your hazel eyes could mean you’re more susceptible to pain and anxiety than women with lighter-colored eyes, according to the APS study, which grouped hazel- and brown-eyed women into a single dark-eyed category.

Green Irises

Women with light-colored eyes may have a higher tolerance for pain, and lower risk of anxiety and depression, particularly during labor and after childbirth, according to the APS study. Your light eyes also provide less UV protection than brown eyes, which means you have a higher risk of eye melanoma.

Blue Irises

In addition to experiencing the same risks as those with green eyes, you may be more likely than your dark-eyed counterparts to develop alcohol dependency, according to recent research. (The study authors can’t explain this random correlation — and they admit that more research is needed.)

Red Eyes

Everyone gets red eyes from time to time when blood vessels well or dilate. It’s usually due to eye dryness, allergies, sun exposure, or dust. Interestingly, regular eye redness has been linked to depression — particularly among Olds. If your eyes are red for more than a couple of days in a row, see your doctor for a formal diagnosis. You could have Sjögren’s syndrome, a common autoimmune disease, an infection, blood vessel abnormality, or something even more serious.

Yellowish Eyes

When the whites of your eyes bear a yellowish tint, your liver could be in trouble. Yellow eyes are a symptom of jaundice, a liver disease that affects the body’s ability to filter a particular substance. It’s also been traced to alcoholism.