Blue Eye Color Is Linked to Alcoholism, Study Suggests

A University of Vermont study shows a genetic link between having blue eyes and a propensity for alcohol dependence

Photo Bright Blue Eye Modified: Wikimedia Commons/Lonedoe/CC 3.0

There may be more to a pair of baby blues than simply lucky genes.

Scientists are closer to confirming a strong genetic link between eye color and alcohol dependency. According to a recent University of Vermont study published in the American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics, blue-eyed people are more likely to become alcoholics than those with dark eyes.

The study, which tested more than 1,200 European Americans, suggests that the genes which determine eye color line up along the same chromosome as the genes responsible for alcohol dependency.

“We still don't know the reason,” says assistant professor of microbiology and molecular genetics Dawei Li, Ph.D, who was the first to determine the connection. “These are complex disorders.”


Li says that more research is needed to determine the nature of the genetic link, and plans to delve deeper to discover whether the link is due to genetics or if there are other cultural factors at play. If the genetic link is probed further, it could be an important tool for alcohol dependence diagnosis clinics.