Reasons to Feel Good About Having Blue Eyes

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Josh Hamilton recently claimed he doesn’t hit well during the day because he has blue eyes. Whether or not it’s the color of his eyes, there is a significant difference: as of June 24, he was hitting .122 (6-for-49) during the day and .347 at night. As optometrist Richard Ison explained to ESPN:

"Because of the lack of pigment in lighter color eyes -- like blue or green eyes as opposed to brown -- you get a lot more unwanted light and that can create glare problems.”

Hamilton said he’s started wearing red contact lenses during day games to draw in less light and help him see the ball better. For now, he says it’s made a difference, and that he may have solved his genetic flaw.

But there's really a lot to love about blue eyes.

First of all, there’s the fact that most of us start off with blue eyes, then acquire more melanin as we grow up. In fact, Hamilton should be proud to be part of an exclusive club: recent studies found that only one in six Americans now have blue eyes, down from roughly 50 percent at the beginning of the 20th century.

And according to genetic research, those few blue-eyed folks are all related. According to Hans Eiberg at the University of Copenhagen theorized that humans all started with brown eyes until one single genetic mutation created blue eyes. All blue-eyed people, Eiberg said, demonstrated the same tweak in their DNA, meaning that they can all be traced back to one ancestor.

But those blue eyes may mean that Hamilton is smarter at certain tasks. In a 2007 British study, researchers found that blue eyed people were better at strategic thinking and generally performed better in tasks that required long-term thought, such as running or golf. Meanwhile, brown-eyed subjects had quicker reaction times.

If none of that helps, Hamilton should also realize there's a rather proud legacy of blue-eyed baseball players. Cal Ripken Jr., Mickey Mantle and Lou Gehrig all did just fine with their blue eyes.

July 11, 2011 - 8:12am
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