Having This Feature On Your Eyes Could Make You More Attractive

Eyes: We get lost in them, we stare into them, we lock them together with our lover's. But besides their color, which everyone tends to notice almost immediately and consciously, there's something else to the eye that's quite subtle but nevertheless adept at making the beholder perceive us as attractive. 

What is this mysterious characteristic? It's called the limbal ring — a dark circle of pigment that surrounds the iris, which is the colored part of the eye (per Healthline). The thing is, not everyone has limbal rings, and not everyone who did have them still has them. We'll explain.

Most, but not all, people are born with limbal rings. There's nothing wrong with not having them, and it doesn't mean that a person whose eyes are ring-less is any less healthy than someone who has them. Nor does it mean that having rings helps us see better. Early in life, from infancy through young childhood, limbal rings tend to be most pronounced. They give babies that innocent, wide-eyed look that causes us to fall in love with them. 

Limbal rings tend to fade with age, often sometime in the early twenties, although some people retain them throughout adulthood. Light-eyed people have rings that are more prominent — and may last longer — than those who have darker-colored eyes. There's nothing you can do to prolong your limbal rings. Genetics and medical conditions have the final say.

What limbal rings bring to a face

When you meet a stranger, chances are you're not consciously looking for limbal rings — although maybe now you will. It takes about 20 milliseconds to decide if someone is attractive, and during that time, your brain is noting the size and shade of the person's limbal rings (per Psychology Today). You'll probably be captured by their eyes if the rings are thick and dark. Such rings make people appear younger and healthier, by enhancing and brightening the whites of their eyes.

There were two notable studies conducted to determine how limbal rings affect a person's perceived attractiveness. In the first, researchers at the University of California at Irvine showed participants pairs of nearly identical photos. In each pair, one photo showed a face with eyes that had dark limbal rings, and the other showed eyes with no rings. Both men and women picked as more attractive the faces with the ringed eyes. A second study found that women participants in particular rated the faces of men with ringed eyes as healthier and more desirable as short-term mates. The study's author, Mitch Brown of the University of Southern Mississippi, told PsyPost that even subtle facial features are able to influence our perceptions of people and our behaviors.

If, after reading this, you're unwilling to let your limbal rings fade away with time, there's the option of wearing "limbal ring" contact lenses. While they may make your eyes look bigger and more defined, they certainly don't have the ring of truth.