People With Blue Eyes More Vulnerable To Alcoholism, Says Study

People With Blue Eyes More Vulnerable To Alcoholism, Says Study
Alcohol and Ulcerative Colitis Kimery Davis/Flickr CC BY 2.0

People endowed with light-colored eyes are more likely to become alcoholics, says a new study from University of Vermont.


Researchers found that people with blue, grey, light brown and green iris were more likely to give in to alcoholic-beverage urges compared to people with brown or darker eyes.

Among the individuals with light-colored eyes, those with blue eyes are more likely to have an addiction to alcohol. The team began with 10,000 participants of Afro-American and European descents and reduced them to 1,263 participants (European-Americans) who have alcohol addiction.

Of the figure, it was found out that alcoholism was more rampant among participants who have light-colored eyes than those with dark-colored eyes. Researchers also used other indicators, such as genetic ancestry, sex and age, in influencing the results.

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Also according to the study, there is “statistically significant” influence between genes connected with alcoholism and genes influencing the eye color. Genetic interaction occurs when one gene is affected or altered by one other genes.

Arvis Sulovari, the team’s leader and doctoral student in cellular, molecular and biomedical sciences, said the study seeks to find the cause not just of alcoholism and other psychiatric disorders.

“This suggests an intriguing possibility—that eye color can be useful in the clinic for alcohol dependence diagnosis,” Sulovari said. His co-author Dr. Dawei Li added they still “do not know the reason,” implying that it needs more research on the subject.

Sulovari said he observed “the eye-color connection,” and “tested their analysis three times, arranging and re-arranging the groups to compare age, gender and different ethnic or geographic backgrounds,” including “northern and southern portions of the continent.”

Li’s role was to probe deeper into the connection between genetic makeup and cultural background, but in the past 20 years, all the identified genes “can only explain a small percentage of the genetics part that has been suggested,” and “a large number is still missing, is still unknown.”

Alcoholism has been a major factor in road accidents. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said nearly 30 individuals “die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver,” which converts to “one death every 51 minutes.”