Blue eyes – are they the ultimate in beauty or chilling and cruel? Whatever your view (or your eye colour) here are some things we bet you didn't know...
1. They’re not really blue
Nobody has blue pigments in their eyes. In the same way that the sky looks like it’s blue, even though it isn’t actually that colour, blue eyes are just a trick of the light.
2. Every person with blue eyes is related to one ancestor
Scientists believe blue eyes started in a person who experienced a genetic mutation 6-10,000 years ago. It’s one of several mutations, such as baldness or freckles, which has nothing to do with improved survival. On the plus side, it means you’re related to Daniel Craig and Bradley Cooper.
3. People are wary of them
Researchers asked people to rate photos of female and male students on how trustworthy they appeared. For some reason, brown-eyed people were much more likely to be seen as trustworthy than people with blue eyes.
4. Most mammals don’t have them
They’re pretty rare in the animal kingdom, but they do occur, as seen in some cats and dogs. There’s also a recently discovered marsupial called the blue-eyed spotted cuscus. Extremely cute, it comes from Indonesia but is critically endangered.
5. They’re most common in the Balkans
In Estonia, 99 percent of the population has blue eyes, while 75 percent of Germans have blue eyes. They’re also found in Southern Europe and some parts of Western Asia.
6. They’re a giveaway!
The size of the pupil is easier to see in blue-eyed people. So if you look at people with different eye colours and have to decide whether each person fancies you, it’ll be more obvious with the blue eyes.
7. You can turn brown eyes blue
An operation using a laser that’s tuned in to a special frequency can be used to remove existing eye pigmentation from the irises of brown-eyed people in order to reveal the blue underneath. The brown tissue never regenerates, so once they’re blue there’s no going back!
8. Parents with blue eyes can have a brown-eyed baby
Many people think that if the child of two blue-eyed parents turns out to have brown eyes, then one parent – most likely the father – is not the biological parent. Oops! Although it isn’t common, it’s possible because you can be a carrier of a dominant trait such as brown eyes. And if two blue-eyed parents are carriers, then they can have a brown-eyed child.
9. Blue-eyed people are more likely to be alcoholics
Two different studies, one involving prisoners and another involving women, indicate that people with blue eyes are more likely to abuse alcohol than those with darker eyes.
10. They can be seen as evil
In many traditions, people with blue eyes are accused of casting the evil eye. In Greece and especially the islands, glass blue eye charms to ward against the evil eye are still regularly sold.
11. They’re becoming more of a rarity
Part of the reason is that, in the past, blue-eyed people tended to have blue-eyed mates. Today, people choose more diverse partners and blue-eyed people are more likely to have children with brown-eyed people. Often that means mostly brown-eyed kids.