In reading the wikipedia article on eye color, I noticed that the colors listed there seemed a bit arbitrary. Tangentially, I know that even the words we use today to recognize colors are neither old nor preserved through cultures, languages, or time. As an example, Spanish speaking peoples often use the word black to describe eye color, but English speaking peoples would say dark brown.

This left me wondering if the worldwide medical community (represented by the world health organisation or something else) has a distinct nomenclature for human eye colors. If they do, what are the various "official" eye colors?

  • Lots of upvotes. I'm surprised this doesn't have an answer. The answer is out there.
    – Carey Gregory
    Commented Feb 5, 2019 at 2:35
  • 1
    I don't know of a standardized nomenclature for normal eye color by any medical organization, but it's possible there is one. It's not taught in, e.g., physical examination courses in medical school (which I have previously taught). There is also not a standardized nomenclature for skin color, and, unfortunately, important skin findings are taught (at least in the US) in a way that doesn't take into account the broad variability in skin tones.
    – De Novo
    Commented Feb 5, 2019 at 5:51
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    @DeNovo From a quick search I get the impression you're right that there is no accepted standard, but there have been attempts to establish one. See for example.
    – Carey Gregory
    Commented Feb 5, 2019 at 6:01
  • @Carey In reading your link, I'm reminded of iridology. Though mostly pseudo-scientific, practitioners use a rather detailed classification rubric that accounts for pattern, artefacts, and color.
    – user3495
    Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 3:16
  • I would say the most “official” you are going to get is to use the color codes on the State Driver’s License you live in or the Federal Passport code for eye color. We know they have GRN, BLU, BRO (or BRW), VIO, HAZ, etc., but I am sure there is a chart for people who have rare eye colors!
    – Alex
    Commented Nov 10, 2023 at 5:29

1 Answer 1


There is no strong scientific consensus on eye colors. But for example, per 2019 review article at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30639910 the colors listed in that review are blue, brown and intermediate

So one approach is to bundle the non brown and non blue into a single category called 'intermediate'.

The top of a long table is pasted here to demonstrate that.

enter image description here

  • "Intermediate". I can't say I like that, but I think we can all agree on it at least. Where exactly is the line for brown? Does it include the very light kind that's sometimes greenish?
    – user3495
    Commented May 30, 2019 at 17:40

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