Can Your Eye Color Increase Your Chances of Having SAD?
Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a condition that affects an estimated 10 million Americans. This condition, which is marked by symptoms such as fatigue, appetite changes, and mood swings, often impacts those who live in colder climates more frequently, as its onset is linked to the seasonal change in sunlight exposure.
While researchers have long known that your physical location can play a big role in whether or not you will experience symptoms of SAD – you’re more likely to be affected if you live farther away from the Equator – recent studies have shown that the color of your eyes may play a role, too.
The study, published in 2018 in the Open Access Journal of Behavioural Science & Psychology, found that people with blue or light-colored eyes scored lower on questionnaires designed to screen for seasonal variability in certain factors.
Approximately 175 undergraduate and graduate students in Wales and Cyprus were surveyed one seasonal changes in their mood, appetite, weight, sleep, and social activity.
The survey subjects with blue or lighter-colored eyes scored lower on these surveys, meaning they were more affected by the changes in seasons.
The theory on these scores is that eyes that have less pigment – blue and gray – are more sensitive to light and don’t need to absorb as much for their retinal cells to receive and process images. However, this also means that those with lighter eyes release less melatonin during the fall and winter months.
Melatonin imbalance, or too much melatonin, can lead to some of the symptoms traditionally associated with SAD. For those with darker eyes, this could mean that they’re more likely to experience SAD symptoms than those with lighter eyes.
While eye color is not the only predicting factor for SAD, nor does having dark eyes mean you’ll get SAD, it can be one of a number of variables that may help doctors in the future better screen people for SAD and get them the help they need.
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Seasonal mood swings and energy dips are part of life for many people. But for those with SAD, these changes can greatly impact their ability to work, sleep, and live for several months of the year. To help combat the symptoms associated with SAD and several other conditions, the Sunbox Company provides high-quality bright light therapy boxes for use in your home or office. Find your light box match today!