General Question

rangerr's avatar

Why is it that my eye color seems to be intensified when I cry?

Asked by rangerr (15765points) December 11th, 2009

My eyes are normally a brighter shade of hazel, but I just noticed that when I cry they turn a bright, dark green. If that made any sense.
I’ve noticed it on a few other people too…their eyes got prettier when they were crying.

Have you ever noticed this? Why do you think it happens? Or is there a scientific reason?

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26 Answers

anon's avatar

I’ve noticed the same thing happening when people are extremely happy too and when I’m feeling particularly low it seems like my eyes get darker but less blue.

Jude's avatar

The same happens with me. My eyes are a bluish-grey, normally. When I cry, they become a darker, more vibrant blue.

I’m not sure why that is, though.

MrsDufresne's avatar

I think it has something to do with blood flow to the iris. And it may go hand in hand with the reddish tones the eyes take on when crying because of the saline flow. I am not entirely sure this is accurate though. This is just my guess.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

It’s the red from your irritated blood vessels that contrast with your iris color. My eyes are normally a goldy/brown, not hazel :( but if I get upset or actually cry then they look green.

LC_Beta's avatar

A former boss made me cry once, then told me my eyes turned the prettiest light blue when I was upset. That just made me cry more, not sure why.

erichw1504's avatar

@LC_Beta Wow, what a great boss.

jfos's avatar

Can you take a pic next time? And a pic normally?

rangerr's avatar

@jfos I have pictures somewhere. I’ll find em.

rangerr's avatar

^ Don’t judge me. It was a movie shoot, but it’s the only picture I could find where the color wasn’t affected by flash.

^Cell phone picture.

It’s a pretty big color difference. At least, to me.

jfos's avatar

post cry pic = awesome color

zombie pic = sexy

Beta_Orionis's avatar

@rangerr hmm, I could see those two shades being potentially different, but you’re also in different lighting situations. Maybe when we cry we’re our lowered lids, potential to be in a more gloomy location, and the tears spilling over change the way the light reflects?

Or you just have MoodEyes™

rangerr's avatar

@jfos I have better ones. Seriously.

@Beta_Orionis I thought about the lighting too, but I’ve been outside and they were that dark..

Maybe I’m just an alien.

jfos's avatar

@rangerr Of the eye or of the sexy?

Beta_Orionis's avatar

@rangerr Could be! I’ve not seen such an intense shift before. Folks I know with blue eyes tend to range between gray and intense light/darks, but not usually in such a short time-span.

as an aside, do those of you with brown eyes ever notice a change?

rangerr's avatar

My ex has blue/grey eyes, and it was easy to tell his mood by his eye color changes.. so he could never really hide it.
I just don’t know why it happens.

Beta_Orionis's avatar

@rangerr I agree with MrsDufresne’s thought; blood-flow seems like a reasonable hypothesis. I thought I read something explaining the science behind it a while ago, but I can’t seem to track down the article now.

I wonder if it has anything to do with surface area. A different distribution of visible colored-tissue (from contraction/expansion) could affect the perceived color. We already know that the iris contracts and expands during certain emotional states.

That would mean when crying, because you’re eyes expand to try to focus, you’d have a more dense coloration. In very bright situations, smallest pupil diameter, the eye would probably be a pale version of your natural color.

Additionally, the size of the pupil in comparison to the iris area will definitely change our perception because of the nature of contrast, but that wouldn’t account for a hue shift. hmm…

Fred931's avatar

Just in case nobody has seen this before, just go watch some anime.

jfos's avatar

To serve as competition to your cool eyes, here’s a pic of my green eyes with orange in the middle!

It’s actually a pretty bad pic, I used my laptop camera with a bright ass lamp shining in my face.

rangerr's avatar

@jfos That’s what mine is like. There’s a band of gold/yellow in the middle.

rooeytoo's avatar

I never watched myself cry. Why are you all looking at yourselves in a mirror as you cry?

rangerr's avatar

@rooeytoo I wasn’t looking in a mirror while I was crying, but afterwards I was in the bathroom and happened to look in the mirror and noticed it.

Beta_Orionis's avatar

@rooeytoo We’re conducting research!

rooeytoo's avatar

@Beta_Orionis – I should have known! ;-)

MaryW's avatar

When reflecting through tears water the color intensifies. And DNA does it so we get a more maternal response from our friends and family. Sort of how baby big eyes get an awwwwww response. :-)

AussyBacca160's avatar

When I cry, my eyes becomes reddish and filled with tears.

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