Are Purple Eyes Real? Facts and Fiction Around Violet Eyes
September 18, 2023 • 7:44 AM
Purple eyes may sound like something dreamed up for a fantasy character, but they really do exist. They’re extremely rare and beautiful — and usually more of a light violet color than deep purple.
Let’s look into why some people have purple eyes as well as some common myths around this eye color. And in case you’re one of those people, we’ll look at how to choose eyewear that complements them, so you always look magical.
Where Does Eye Color Come From?
If you have plenty of melanin in your irises, you’ll likely end up with brown eyes — and because melanin absorbs light, the more you have, the darker your eyes will be. With a lot of melanin, it may even look like you have black eyes.
Because melanin protects a person’s eyes from the sun, the darker your eyes, the less likely you are to develop eye diseases. Sun damage is a contributor to eye conditions like ocular melanoma and cataracts.
On the other hand, if you have very little brown pigmentation in your eyes, instead of absorbing light, they’ll reflect it. And because blue light is most easily reflected, your eyes will look blue. Blue eyes are far more common in Caucasian cultures that originate from cooler areas of the world.
So What Causes Purple Eye Color?
Purple eyes sit on the extreme end of this scale.
People who have almost no pigment at all, a condition known as albinism, may have blue eyes. Or they may have pale red or pink eyes because the lack of melanin allows light to reflect right off the pink blood vessels.
Add a tiny bit of melanin, and the eyes also reflect a little blue light (although not enough to produce blue eyes). Then the pink plus reflected blue combine to make purple eyes.
Only a tiny percentage of the world’s population has purple eyes (less than 1%), making it one of the rarest eye colors.
What Else Can Cause Unusual Eye Colors?
While purple eyes are very rare, there are also other reasons people may have unusual eye colors.
For example, some people have different colored eyes — often one blue and one brown — due to differing amounts of pigment in each eye. This is known as heterochromia iridis.
Heterochromia can also be the result of a medical condition known as Waardenburg syndrome, which affects the pigmentation of your eyes, hair, and skin.
And if you have an eye condition like uveitis — or inflammation of the eye — your eyes may look reddish.
Important Note: If you notice an eye color change in one or both of your eyes, it’s best to schedule a visit to your eye doctor as soon as possible. The earlier you get eye conditions treated, the better — otherwise they may cause vision loss.
Myths Around Purple Eyes
Perhaps because they’re so unusual and have a mystical look to them, purple eyes have given rise to a couple of different myths.
Elizabeth Taylor’s Eyes
For those too young to remember, Elizabeth Taylor was a beautiful movie star. In her heyday from the 1950s to the 1970s — long before colored contact lenses were available — she was famous for her supposedly violet eyes.
In fact, her eyes were dark blue but in a specific lighting, they looked violet. She was also very good at choosing makeup and clothes that brought out those purple hues, for example, black eyeliner, purple or blue eye shadow, or a violet scarf.
Another myth around purple eyes is a condition called Alexandria’s Genesis — or Alexandria’s Syndrome. The story first appeared online in 2005 that a woman named Alexandria, born in 1329, had a genetic mutation that gave her purple eyes. She had two children, also with purple eyes. All three of them supposedly lived extremely long and healthy lives and were believed to be genetically perfect.
Alexandria’s Genesis is nothing more than an internet myth and has no scientific proof behind it, but it’s often thrown around in the purple eyes discussion.
The Best Eyeglasses for Purple Eyes
If you have purple eyes, you’ll want to showcase them with the right pair of glasses.
In that case, your first stop should be Pair Eyewear. With a range of beautifully designed Base Frames plus the ability to change your look in an instant by adding a magnetic Top Frame, you’re sure to find something that works for you.
If you have purple eyes, there’s a high chance your eyes are also sensitive to light. Pick out some Sun Tops that snap right onto your glasses magnetically so you don’t need to carry around a separate pair of sunnies.
Start by choosing the Base Frame that best suits your face. You can check our Size Guide to find options for your face size, then use our Virtual Try-On feature to experiment with different styles. You simply need to give Pair access to your camera to see how you look wearing different frame shapes and colors.
When it comes to color, why not take a leaf from Elizabeth Taylor’s book and use clever colors to highlight your purple eyes?
If you want to wear your Base Frames on their own, you could go for plain black to frame your eyes or Crystal Clear so your glasses disappear, making your eyes the main feature. Or you could choose Pink Clear or Blue Clear to pick up those tones in your eyes.
Then, if you fancy a little variation from day to day, why not pick a pair (or two) of Top Frames? Choose a blue, pink, or purple pair to tone with your eyes or a frame in complementary colors like green or yellow. Try one of these gorgeous designs to help your purple eyes shine:
Magical Purple Eyes Are Real and Beautiful
Purple eyes are very real — and extremely rare. They usually occur in people with albinism, who have very little melanin in their eyes. The combination of pink from visible blood vessels and reflected blue light creates a beautiful violet color.
If you have purple eyes, choose a pair of glasses that complements both your face shape and the color of your eyes.
Pick yours online from Pair Eyewear today and take advantage of the extra versatility you get from a combination of Base Frames and Top Frames. Starting at just $60, you can’t go wrong. After all, those gorgeous purple eyes deserve the best frames you can get.