Hazel Eyes: What They Are & Glasses That Complement Them
August 7, 2023 • 8:26 AM
Human eye color is fascinating — and completely unique from one person to the next. Perhaps that’s why they’re often described as “windows to the soul.” Hazel eyes are particularly striking with their beautiful combination of colors, especially if you dress them up with the right pair of glasses.
Let’s get clear on exactly what defines hazel eyes and why they’re quite different from brown eyes, despite often being grouped together. We’ll also explore what glasses best suit hazel eyes, so your beautiful eyes can truly shine.
What Color Are Hazel Eyes?
Taking their name from the hazelnut shell, hazel eyes contain several different colors, usually green, brown, and gold, although they often also include amber or blue. They can also vary in color from the area around the pupil to the outer edges.
Hazel eyes are the chameleons of the eye world. Sometimes they look like one color at a distance but when you’re closer, you can see the gorgeous multicolored hues.
As they’re a mixture of colors, hazel eyes change color — or appear to anyway — depending on factors like the light conditions or surrounding colors, for example, if you’re wearing eyeshadow or bold-colored clothing.
How Many People Have Hazel Eyes?
Around 5% of the world’s population has hazel eyes — about the same percentage as amber eyes.
Compare that to brown eyes, which are the most common eye color at 70-80% of the population (including both light and dark brown eyes). Around 8-10% have blue eyes. With gray eyes at 3% and green at 2%, hazel isn’t the rarest eye color but it’s still pretty unusual.
In the U.S., the percentage of hazel-colored eyes is higher. According to a 2014 survey by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, around 18% of the US population has hazel eyes.
Side note: If your eye color has changed recently, consult your eye doctor. It’s good eye care to have regular eye exams anyway, but a change in eye color can sometimes indicate a health condition.
Why Do Some People Have Hazel Eyes?
The color of your eyes, much like your skin color, depends on the amount of melanin they contain.
Melanin is a pigment that absorbs light, and when something absorbs light, it looks dark. So the more melanin you have, the more likely it is that you’ll have darker eyes. In contrast, light eyes have less melanin.
The colored part of your eye is called the iris. It has two layers: the pigment epithelium at the back and the stroma at the front. Almost everyone has brown pigment in the back part of the iris, but the front layer differs widely.
If the stroma has plenty of brown pigment, you’ll have brownish eyes. But if there’s very little pigment in that front layer, it reflects light from the blue wavelength part of the spectrum, and your eyes will look blue.
Side note: Interestingly, the sky looks blue for much the same reason, an effect known as Rayleigh scattering.
If the stroma contains some light brown pigment though, it interacts with the blue light and you’ll end up with green eyes or hazel eyes. While green eyes usually have a consistent — and lesser — amount of melanin across the stroma, hazel eyes have flecks of various colors because the amount of melanin differs across different parts of the iris.
It’s worth noting that melanin can continue to develop in the first few years of our life. So some babies are born with blue eyes which later darken to hazel, green, or even brown.
Where Do You Get Your Eye Color From?
Different genes manage melanin production. The gene for brown eyes is more dominant than the recessive blue one, meaning the blue one is less likely to be passed on. Because of this, we used to think that a person with blue eyes must have two blue genes — one from each parent — and that two blue-eyed parents couldn’t produce a brown-eyed child.
Turns out it’s not that simple though. There are at least 16 different genes involved — and researchers still don’t fully understand how all the genes for different eye colors work.
You’ll most likely have eyes a similar color to those of your parents, but even if both your parents do have blue eyes, it’s possible for your eyes to be brown or some variation in between like hazel green. For all our scientific advances, it seems we still have a lot to learn about eyes!
Side note: Melanin protects your eyes from the sun — which might explain why people from cultures that live (or once lived) in hotter climates like Africa, Asia, or the Middle East often have brown eye colors, while lighter eyes are more often found in people from cooler areas of the world.
What Glasses Complement Hazel Eye Color?
With such complexity in your hazel eyes, you have a world of choices if you want your eyes to pop. Decide which of the colors in your eyes you’d like to emphasize, then work from there. You can either aim to match that color or complement it to create a beautiful balance.
Another option is to go with multicolored frames — just make sure the colors complement rather than completely overshadow your eyes. These Top Frames might work: The Sunflowers or The Captain Marvel Suit.
And if you’re not sure, a tortoiseshell material or a pair in shades of neutral brown can provide a lovely frame that allows all the colors in your eyes to shine, for example, The Tortoise or The Woodgrain.
Of course, if you don’t naturally have hazel eyes, you can create the appearance of them with colored contact lenses. If you’re prepared to go to that extent to complete your look, kudos on being truly dedicated!
Celebrate Your Gorgeous Hazel Eyes With Gorgeous Eyewear
Hazel eyes are made up of a mixture of colors, from brown and green to blue, gold, and amber. They get their unusual shade from the way the light is absorbed or reflected by varying amounts of melanin across the front layer of the iris. Your genetics plays a big part in this.
Play up the colors in your eyes by choosing glasses that bring out specific colors or simply frame them perfectly. You’ll find a vast range of great quality options to choose from at Pair Eyewear — and at great prices too. Starting at just $60 for prescription eyewear, you can pick your favorite Base Frame and then add your choice of Top Frames today.
After all, those beautiful hazel eyes deserve to shine.