Do People With Blue Eyes Have a Higher Alcohol Tolerance?
Blue Eye Color and Alcohol Tolerance
Studies have shown a link between blue eyes and alcohol tolerance. Learn how eyes get their color and why blue-eyed people may have an increased risk of alcoholism. If you’ve wondered whether eye color affects a person’s tolerance for alcohol intake, you’re not the only one. In fact, researchers have conducted studies to find out if there’s a link between blue eyes and alcoholism.
Recent studies have suggested an association between blue eyes and a higher alcohol tolerance, which puts blue-eyed people at a higher risk of alcohol addiction.
If you or a loved one have blue eyes, you may find yourself faced with an alcohol dependence diagnosis.
Zinnia Healing has substance use facilities located across the country. We make it easy to search by treatment type and state, so you’re sure to find one near you.
Is There a Link Between Alcoholism and Blue Eyes?
Yes, there does appear to be a link between people who have blue eyes and alcoholism.
Several scientists have explored the drinking habits of people based on eye color.
The results of their studies suggest that people with blue eyes have a higher risk of alcohol use disorder (AUD).
Examples of Research That Shows the Link Between Blue Eyes and Alcohol
1. Alcohol Consumption and Eye Color
In 2001, researchers published a study to provide evidence that eye color predicts alcohol use or abuse.
Using two archived samples, they explored the records of 10,860 Caucasian American males in prison and 1,862 Caucasian American women who responded to a survey.
- 42% of light-eyed inmates had alcohol abuse problems
- 38% of dark-eyed inmates had alcohol abuse problems
Both samples showed that individuals with light-colored eyes consumed significantly more alcohol than those with dark eyes.
It was suggested that people with darker eyes might be more sensitive to feeling the effects of alcohol as well, which might prevent them from drinking enough to develop an addiction to alcohol.
These results could be related to previous studies that found that dark-eyed individuals are more sensitive to medications than light-eyed people.
Also, people with light eyes may drink more alcohol to reduce anxiety, as previous studies show that light-eyed people tend to be more inhibited but prone to anxiety.
2. Alcohol Dependency and Eye Color
A new study conducted in 2015 on 1,200 European-Americans found a direct link between alcoholism and blue eyes.
Those with lighter eyes, especially blue, were more likely to have an alcohol dependence diagnosis than individuals with brown eyes.
In the United States, alcohol use disorder affected nearly 15 million people who are 12 years of age and older in 2019 — that’s more than 5% of Americans.
While you can become addicted to alcohol no matter what color your eyes are, if you have blue eyes, you may have a higher tolerance for alcohol consumption and an increased risk of alcoholism.
Related Reading: Prevalence of Binge Drinking by State
How Common Are Blue Eyes?
About 8-10% of people worldwide have blue eyes, making it the second most predominant eye color.
The following is the prevalence of eye color worldwide:
- 79% of people have brown eyes
- 8-10% of people have blue eyes
- 5% of people have hazel eyes
- 2% of people have green eyes
- Rare percentage of people have red or violet eyes
Eyes come in different shades and colors, ranging from light blue and gray to green and hazel to dark brown and black.
Some people have eyes with different colors, spots, and specks mixed in with their primary eye color. For instance, hazel eyes are a combination of brown and green.
Related Reading: How Alcohol-Related Deaths Have Changed in Every State Over the Past Two Decades
What Makes Eyes Blue in Color?
Eye color depends on two things: the amount of melanin you have in your eyes and the structure of your eye.
Some people have more than one eye color, and each eye is a different color.
The colored part of your eye is called the iris. It’s made up of muscles surrounding the pupil that can control the amount of light that gets in.
Two layers make up the iris: the back layer is brown in most people, and the front layer (called the stroma) may have various degrees of melanin.
Melanin is a type of pigment, which gives coloring to eyes, hair, and skin.
The more melanin you have, the darker the iris becomes.
People with blue eyes have less melanin in their irises, so their eyes absorb less light, making them look blue.
In contrast, darker-eyed individuals have more melanin, which absorbs more light.
People with albinism have no melanin to absorb light. As a result, light is reflected off of the blood vessels in their eyes, which gives their iris a red or violet color.
Contrary to what you might have thought, there’s no such thing as a blue eye pigment. Eyes get their color from the reflection (or absorption) of light.
If you have light eye color, your eyes may be more sensitive to light. That’s because melanin helps protect the eyes from light, just as it does for the skin.
Why Does a Persons Eye Color Sometimes Changes?
While babies can be born with any eye color, their bodies can make more melanin as they grow.
For example, your child’s eyes could turn from blue to brown within one or several years after they’re born. However, in rare cases, eyes can change color during adolescence and adulthood.
You may have noticed that your eyes appear to change colors sometimes.
This is more common in people with light eye color because colors from their clothes and surroundings can show up better when reflected in their eyes.
In other cases, your eyes may change colors. If you have a dark ring on the outer edge of the iris, it often diminishes as you age.
Also, certain medical conditions can cause your eyes to change color, such as cataracts and glaucoma.
If you think you or someone you know is addicted to alcohol, reach out and speak to one of our substance abuse professionals at (855) 430-9439. At Zinnia Healing, we offer a range of customized treatment programs to help you get on the road to recovery.
What Are the Genetics That Determine Eye Color?
You may have been taught that your eye color is based on a single gene, with brown being the dominant trait.
However, researchers have found at least 16 genes responsible for eye color. Some of these genes influence the amount of melanin that’s produced.
Specifically, chromosome 15 contains two of these genes, which are very close together and play a major role in eye color.
- One gene (OCA2) produces a protein responsible for the development of cellular structures that make and store melanin.
- The other gene (HERC2) contains DNA that turns OCA2 on and off.
Variations in these genes can cause them to produce less protein and make less melanin, resulting in lighter eyes.
Approximately 10,000 years ago, every human had brown eyes. It wasn’t until people migrated to Europe that blue eyes started to appear.
Apparently, someone was born with a genetic mutation that reduced gene expression, causing blue eyes to occur.
As a result, blue-eyed people are carriers of the mutated trait. Researchers also found that people who are descendants of this European ancestry are more likely to have blue eyes.
How to Get Help for Alcohol Abuse Regardless of Eye Color
Anybody who drinks alcohol and other substances with addictive properties puts themselves at risk of developing dependency. When it comes to eye color, individuals with lighter eyes have a higher tolerance for alcohol intake than those with darker eyes. If you have light baby blues or dark blue Betty Davis eyes, you have the intriguing possibility of a greater risk of alcohol use disorder.
Zinnia Healing has facilities available to meet the needs of individuals who may be suffering from substance abuse, including alcoholism. We offer a wide range of treatment programs, from comprehensive inpatient services to group therapy, so contact us today to learn more.