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Do natural golden eyes exist?

Do natural golden eyes exist?

Golden or amber eye color is one of the rarest and most striking eye colors in humans. Unlike common eye colors like blue, green and brown that are caused by the pigment melanin, golden eyes are the result of a high concentration of lipochrome, also known as pheomelanin, in the iris (the colored part of the eye). This pigment reflects light and gives the eyes their golden hue. But are natural golden eyes really possible in humans or are they just a myth?

What Causes Golden Eye Color?

As mentioned, golden eyes are caused by a high concentration of the pigment lipochrome in the iris. This is the same pigment that gives red hair its distinctive color. Here’s a quick breakdown of how eye color works:

Pigment Color
Melanin (low concentration) Blue
Melanin (moderate concentration) Green
Melanin (high concentration) Brown
Lipochrome (high concentration) Amber/Gold

The amount and quality of these pigments in the iris determines eye color. Most eyes have a combination of melanin and lipochrome but little to no lipochrome results in blue, green and brown eyes.

Prevalence of Golden Eyes

Golden eyes are considered one of the rarest eye colors in humans along with red/violet eyes. There are no definitive statistics on their prevalence but estimates put it at less than 1% of the global population.

For comparison, here is the estimated distribution of eye colors worldwide:

Eye Color Percentage of Population
Brown 79%
Blue 8%
Green 2%
Gray 1%
Amber/Gold Less than 1%

As you can see, natural golden eye color is exceptionally uncommon globally. The highest concentrations of amber eyes are found in countries like Iceland, Scotland and Spain.

Can Golden Eyes Be Natural?

Many people believe golden eyes are simply not possible naturally in humans. However, there are definitely real cases of people born with genuine golden eyes due to genetic factors.

Here are some key points:

– Golden eyes are linked to low melanin and high lipochrome pigment. This is determined by genetics and can occur naturally.

– Certain genetic conditions like ocular albinism can result in golden eyes due to how melanin is distributed in the iris.

– People with yellow eyes typically have lighter hair and complexions, aligning with the pheomelanin pigmentation.

– Areas like Northern Europe have higher incidences of golden eyes, especially among native populations.

– Photographs and first-hand accounts confirm some people do naturally have amber/yellow eye color.

So while incredibly rare, natural golden eyes are scientifically possible and verifiable. They cannot be obtained through artificial means like contacts. If someone has genuine golden eyes, it is simply a rare genetic quirk that gave them higher amounts of lipochrome pigment.

Famous People with Golden Eyes

There are a handful of celebrities and public figures that apparently have natural amber eye color:

– **Elizabeth Taylor** – The iconic Hollywood actress was famous for her rare violet-colored eyes that sometimes looked golden in certain lighting.

– **Mani Pavlovic** – This Australian model is known for having dazzling golden eyes which she attributes to her Macedonian heritage.

– **Molly Bish** – Bish was a Massachusetts teenager that went missing in 2000. Her case brought attention to her rare bright golden eyes.

– **Thranduil** – The Elvenking character played by Lee Pace in The Hobbit films noticeably has amber-colored eyes.

– **The Hales** – Multiple members of the Hale werewolf family in the Twilight book/film series are described as having golden eyes.

While definitely not common, these examples show golden eyes do occasionally show up in public figures and celebrities. However, it is impossible to definitively confirm if their eye color is natural or enhanced digitally/cosmetically.

Can Contacts Create Golden Eyes?

Wearing contacts is a popular way people try to mimic golden eye color. However, contacts cannot truly reproduce the look of natural amber eyes. Here’s why:

– **Flat appearance** – Contacts sit on the surface of the eye over the iris, creating an artificial look.

– **Lack natural variation** – Natural golden eyes have striations and variations. Contacts appear flat and uniform in color.

– **Mix with natural eye color** – The contact color mixes with the natural shade of the iris, creating a muted effect.

– **Temporary effect** – Contacts must be removed daily and don’t permanently change eye color.

– **Unnatural shine** – Plastic contacts reflect light unnaturally resulting in an obvious artificial look.

– **Can damage eyes** – Poorly fitted or low-quality contacts can potentially scar the cornea permanently.

So while contacts may simulate golden eyes to some degree, an observant person can usually tell the difference from natural amber eyes. The effect ends up looking flat and opaque compared to the depth and dimensionality of real golden irises.

Surgical Procedures to Get Golden Eyes

There are currently no surgical procedures that can turn eyes permanently golden. However, there are experimental methods being developed that aim to modify eye color:

– **Iris implants** – Synthetic iris implants with a yellow tint can be surgically embedded over the natural iris. This procedure is risky and still being tested.

– **Laser treatment** – Low-intensity lasers may be able to selectively remove melanin pigment from the iris without damaging eye tissue. Still highly experimental.

– **Gene therapy** – Techniques to splice genes associated with melanin/lipochrome production could potentially alter someone’s eye color. Nowhere near ready for human testing.

While eye color modification surgery may eventually be possible, currently there are no approved, safe methods to turn brown/blue eyes permanently golden. Any clinics offering this type of procedure are highly suspect and risky. Natural amber eyes cannot be replicated artificially through any existing permanent means.

The Rarity of Golden Eyes

In summary, while possible, golden eyes are one of the rarest eye colors that exist in humans:

– Caused by low melanin and high lipochrome pigment in the iris

– Less than 1% of people worldwide have natural amber eyes

– Associated with light hair/skin due to similar pheomelanin pigment

– Not fully reproducible through contacts or other artificial methods

– No safe surgical procedures exist to turn eyes permanently golden

So if you come across someone with genuine golden eyes, consider yourself privileged to witness such a rare and striking genetic rarity! They are exotic jewels of nature that cannot be forged or imitated artificially.


Natural golden/amber eyes are scientifically plausible and verifiably exist in some people, though extremely uncommon. They cannot be obtained in any permanent or safe way cosmetically or surgically. If golden eyes occur naturally, it is due to an excess of lipochrome pigment in the iris that reflects light and produces the distinctive yellow/golden hue. So while exceptionally rare, yes some people are in fact born with gorgeous golden eyes thanks to a unique genetic makeup. They should be considered exceptionally beautiful and exotic treasures of nature!