Eyes are often called the windows to the soul. Their color and appearance can have a big impact on how others perceive us. While some people are happy with their natural eye color, others wish to enhance or change it. This has led to a variety of methods and products that claim to intensify eye color naturally or artificially.
What determines eye color?
Human eye color originates from the amount and type of pigment in the iris. This pigment is called melanin. The two main types are:
- Eumelanin – Produces brown/black pigmentation
- Pheomelanin – Produces red/yellow pigmentation
The more melanin you have in the iris, the darker your eye color will be. People with brown or black eyes have a lot of melanin. People with blue or green eyes have much less melanin. Gray eyes fall somewhere in the middle.
Genetics play a big role in determining melanin levels. However, factors like age and environmental exposure can also impact eye color over time. Babies are usually born with gray or blue eyes that darken over the first few years of life as melanin levels increase.
Natural methods to intensify eye color
While eye color is largely genetic, there are some natural methods that may make your eyes appear slightly more vivid or luminous. These include:
Wearing makeup and clothing in colors that contrast with your eyes can help them stand out more. For example, hazel or green eyes look more vibrant with purples and browns. Blues and grays enhance blue eyes. Browns and golds intensify darker eyes.
Making the sclera (whites of the eyes) whiter and brighter can also make the iris color pop. Using over-the-counter eye drops like Visine can reduce redness and brighten eyes.
Some nutritional supplements and foods may support eye health and increase pigmentation:
- Lutein and zeaxanthin – These are yellow/red carotenoid antioxidants found in greens, eggs, and orange/yellow produce. Some studies link higher intake to increased macular pigment density.
- Vitamin A – This nutrient supports eye membrane health. Sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, and Cod liver oil are good sources.
- Omega-3s – Found in fatty fish, walnuts, and flaxseed. May reduce inflammation-induced melanin loss.
Exfoliate and moisturize
Regularly removing dead skin cells around the eyes and keeping the skin hydrated can enhance the eyes by making them look whiter and smoother.
Artificial methods to change eye color
In addition to natural enhancement methods, there are also more invasive artificial techniques that can permanently or temporarily change the color and appearance of the eyes:
Colored contact lenses
One of the easiest ways to change eye color is through colored contact lenses. These thin lenses sit directly on the eye surface and cover the natural iris underneath. They come in a variety of colors and effects including vibrant shades like violet and dynamic looks like cat eyes.
The main downside to colored contacts is that they must be removed daily and properly cared for to avoid eye health risks like infection. They also may not be comfortable for people with dry eyes or sensitivity.
Laser eye color change surgery
A newer and controversial cosmetic surgery uses laser technology to permanently lighten iris pigment. By selectively targeting and destroying melanin with short laser pulses, it can convert brown eyes to hazel or light brown and make blues, greens, and grays appear brighter.
However, there are safety concerns with this method. Side effects may include vision problems, inconsistent results, and untreated areas. The long-term effects are also unknown since the procedure has only been around for about 20 years.
Surgically implanting colored contact lenses under the surface of the eye is an option for permanent artificial color change. This involves making a small incision, placing the colored implant, and stitching the eye back up.
Downsides to iris implants include the irreversibility, potential vision damage, glare or halo effects, and appearance that may not look natural. Implant surgery has greater risks than laser treatment and is not approved in some countries.
Should you try to intensify your eye color?
If you’re thinking about enhancing your eye appearance, consider both the pros and cons of different methods. Temporary color change with contacts lets you experiment with new looks while avoiding permanent effects. More cautious approaches like makeup and eye drops can subtly accentuate your natural shade.
Permanent surgical interventions have more risks and unknowns. The safest medical technique is still relatively new. Implants may not achieve the desired result. Any eye surgery can negatively impact vision or health if done improperly.
Think carefully and talk to your eye doctor before attempting artificial color change. Boosting what you already have naturally is typically a safer bet.
While beautiful eyes are often admired, inner qualities matter far more. Your eye color is unique to you – it connects you to family history and represents your genetic makeup. Embracing what nature gave you confidently can make your eyes even more appealing than any color change.
Eye color is determined mainly by genetics, with melanin content being key. Some natural ways to make your eyes more vibrant include using contrasting colors, keeping the whites clear, and maintaining a healthy diet. Artificially changing color with contacts, lasers, or implants is possible but carries higher risks and side effects.
Loving your natural eye shade and enhancing it gently may be better than more extreme interventions. Your eye color is an integral part of you with or without enhancement.