What Blonde Hair Can Predict About Your Eye Health

It's a question of the ages: Do blondes actually have more fun? There's no denying that a glistening head of long, golden locks is something of a showstopper. However, the law of duality suggests that for every bright spot there must also be a shadow.

So, while a 2012 study published in the Journal of Socio-Economics discovered that waitresses wearing blonde wigs racked up more tips from men than did their fellow waitresses with darker tresses, there's also evidence that having blonde hair could increase the risk for certain diseases. The National Women's Health Network points out that because people with blonde hair tend to have less melanin in their skin, and are therefore less protected from the sun's UV rays, their risk of developing melanoma tends to be higher than their darker-haired counterparts.

The Tech Interactive points out that people who produce less melanin also tend to have lighter eyes, as melanin can also be found in the iris of the eye. For that reason, among others, research has indicated that people with blond hair may also be more susceptible to a number of different eye conditions, as well.

Melanin and eye health

Because people with blonde hair typically have lighter eyes, blonde hair can be an indicator for increased risk of UV damage to the eyes as well. Optima Eye points out that people who have lighter colored eyes are at increased risk for cancers of the eye, like iris and uveal melanoma. They are also more susceptible to cataracts, a condition that occurs when the lens of your eye becomes cloudy, impairing vision (per Mayo Clinic). While cataracts can form naturally as you age, overexposure to UV rays can make their development more likely.

Prevention also points out that, through the aging process, many people will experience some loss of eye function as a result of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) — a condition that causes the loss of central vision. While advanced age and factors like smoking play a role in the progression of AMD, hair color has also proven to be a contributing factor. According to a 2014 study published in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, people with blonde hair are more likely to develop early AMD than those with darker hair.