Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Eye color

Eye color is a polygenic phenotypic character determined by two distinct factors: the pigmentation of the eye's iris and the frequency-dependence of the scattering of light by the turbid medium in the stroma of the iris.

In humans, the pigmentation of the iris varies from light brown to black, depending on the concentration of melanin in the iris pigment epithelium (located on the back of the iris), the melanin content within the iris stroma located at the front of the iris, and the cellular density of the stroma.

The appearance of blue, green, as well as hazel eyes results from the Rayleigh scattering of light in the stroma, a phenomenon similar to that which accounts for the blueness of the sky. Neither blue nor green pigments are ever present in the human iris or ocular fluid. Eye color is thus an instance of structural color and varies depending on the lighting conditions, especially for lighter-colored eyes