There are so many beautiful eyes in the world, it’s enough to make you weep. And if you do weep, the color of your eyes will probably look different, if only for a bit! That’s because there’s a lot of different factors that can change exactly how your eyes look; the lighting, the makeup you use, the clothes you’re wearing; after all, colour is really only seen in context, and other colours affect our perception. We’re getting ahead of ourselves, though; what’s causing all the different colours of eyes in the first place?

Well, the main factor is genetics; you might remember doing Punnett squares in high school biology where you figure out what the dominant and recessive genes are, and try to determine from there the chances that you’ll end up with a particular trait. As it turns out, eye colour is actually quite a bit more complicated than that; there’s a variety of genes that factor into eye colour, so it’s not quite as simple as “One parent has brown eyes, so brown eyes are more likely”. Nor is eye colour just a mix of both parents eye colours, though sometimes hazel eyes can give that impression.

The part of our eyes that is colored is called the iris. The reason the iris has colour is a combination of two factors: the amount of melanin present in the iris, and the way light scatters on the iris, a phenomenon known as Rayleigh scattering. The amount of melanin in our eyes can change as we age; that’s why there are many babies born with blue eyes who develop hazel or brown eyes as time goes on.

The size of your pupils is an important regulator of how much light enters into your eyes, and changes depending on whether we’re focusing on something nearby or far away, as well as if we’re in low-light or bright conditions.  The iris controls the size of the pupil, and so when the pupil expands or contracts, the iris can seem to change colour. This is in part why eyes can seem to change colour depending on a person’s emotions; the way they’re feeling can cause physiological changes that affect the size of the pupil.

Whatever colour eyes you have, they’re almost certain to be beautiful; every eye is unique, and they come in such a wide variety of different hues it can be breathtaking. That said, who hasn’t wanted to experiment with their appearance every now and again, especially for a costume party or Halloween? With colored contact lenses, you can change the colour of your eyes drastically, giving yourself colors that could ordinarily almost never be seen, like purple. That said, you shouldn’t buy contacts from shady online vendors; they should be properly fitted to the shape of your eyes. Have an eye exam done by your local optometrist so they can write you the proper prescription, and then you can have an assortment of eye colours to choose from!