Is Eye Colour An Indicator Of Your Pain Threshold?

There are many factors that influence ones tolerance of pain, this is well understood, however the exact mechanisms of pain tolerance and determinants of your personal capacity to endure pain is still unclear. However researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School Of Medicine have noticed a potential determinant of a persons pain threshold. Lead researcher Inna Belfer, MD, PhD performed a study that looked at (no pun intended) correlations between peoples eye colour and pain tolerance. She explains that ‘human pain is correlated with multiple factors like gender, age and hair colour’ meaning a persons eye colour could well give you some insight into their capacity to tolerate pain.

The findings of Dr Belfer’s study was summarised as follows:

"Researchers have found that red hair is associated with resistance to anesthetics and also to increased anxiety and darker eye color has been reportedly found to correlate with increased physiologic reactivity and drug-induced pupil dilation."

This was based on a relatively small subject number (people tested in the study) but was stringently governed and moderated. Researchers noticed that darker eyed women experienced more pain during pregnancy, were tolerance of heat pain and were more likely to be depressed as a result of their pain, and exhibited greater anxiety and sleep disturbance compared to ladies with a lighter eye colour.

Maybe they’re on to something, so let’s watch this space (pun intended).


Medscape, (2014). Does eye colour predict response to pain? Retrieved 15th May, 2014, from discount supplements

About the Author

Job Role Qualified Dietitian and Sports Nutritionist Qualifications BSc (Hons) Sports Science | BSc (Hons) Dietetics Tom has always participated in sport both recreationally and competitively which led to an unquenchable thirst for information on anything health, nutrition and fitness. After leaving school Tom went on to play for a football academy during which time he studied Sport and Exercise Science. From here he went on to study a BSc (Hons) Sport Science at UEA followed by his second BSc (Hons) degree, this time at the University of Hertfordshire studying Dietetics. Tom has worked in the fitness, educational and clinical nutrition industry starting out at David Lloyd Health and Leisure Clubs. He then went on to work as a Dietitian (RD) in the NHS, during which time he conducted clinics for healthy eating, weight loss and weight gain, as well as specialised consultations on Diabetes, IBS and Coeliac disease to name a few. He has vast amounts of experience at devising diet plans and supplement regimens, as well as working in the community with schools and competitive athletes. As Head Nutritionist and Supplement expert at Discount Supplements Tom is here to provide current and evidence based health and nutrition information to help you reach your health and fitness goals!
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