Patients' Eye Color a Clue to Pain Tolerance
Written by Editor   
Tuesday, May 06, 2014 05:38 PM

Preliminary research data indicates that caucasian women with light-colored eyes -- blue or green -- appear to tolerate pain better than Caucasian women with brown or hazel eyes.  Differences in hair color have been linked to resistance to anesthesia, and eye color has been associated with behavior and possibly neural transmission. "However, there has been limited research examining the relationship between eye color and the human pain experience.

In a study involving 58 pregnant women -- 24 with dark-colored eyes and 34 with light-colored eyes -- those with lighter eyes achieved greater reductions in postpartum anxiety, depression, and catastrophizing/rumination.  The lead author of the study, said that another indication that dark-eyed women had greater pain was their increased pain reduction when they were given epidural analgesia. They experienced about a 60% reduction in pain at rest compared with about a 45% reduction in pain at rest among the women with light-colored eyes.  There was about a 55% reduction in pain during movement among the dark-eyed women, compared with a 40% reduction in pain among the light-eyed patients.  

"Our research is too early to hypothesize why there should be link between eye color and pain. I suspect there is a genetic component," the author stated.