May 2004
Volume 45, Issue 13
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   May 2004
Characteristics of iris color in healthy adults
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • M. Diestelhorst
    University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany
  • E. Diestelhorst
    University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany
  • M. Hellmich
    Institute of Medical Statistics, Informatics and Epidemiology,
    University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany
  • D. Keysers
    Chair of Computer Science VI, RWTH–Aachen, Aachen, Germany
  • M.M. Hermann
    University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships  M. Diestelhorst, Pharmacia GmbH, Germany F; E. Diestelhorst, None; M. Hellmich, None; D. Keysers, Pharmacia GmbH, Germany F; M.M. Hermann, None.
  • Footnotes
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Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science May 2004, Vol.45, 5545. doi:
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      M. Diestelhorst, E. Diestelhorst, M. Hellmich, D. Keysers, M.M. Hermann; Characteristics of iris color in healthy adults . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2004;45(13):5545.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract: : Purpose:Alteration of iris–pigmentation is an emerging side–effect of topical therapy in glaucoma. To study this effect an imaging–system for analysis of the iris–pigmentation was set up and demonstrated with healthy adults in a cross–sectional study. The acquired data was used to study the influence of gender and age on iris pigmentation. Methods:Iris photographs under standardised conditions were taken from 2000 adults aged 40–80 years. Intelligent pattern–recognition software identified iris structures and generated colorimetric and geometric data of the iris. Data was analysed separately for different iris–sectors. The HSV and RGB color–spaces were used for analysis of the digital color–information. The influence of age and gender on standardised iris color was assessed by factorial repeated measures analysis of variance with between–factors gender, age and within–factors sector (nasal, temporal), color channel. Additionally, asymmetry in iris pigmentation was examined with this method. Results:Successful iris–color measurements were obtained from 1096 women (58.5±10.4 years) and 868 men (61.3±10.2 years). One random eye from each participant was included for statistical analysis. All factor main effects (between and within) as well as various interactions turned out to be statistically significant (p<0.001). Thereby mean values for all color channels increased with age, were higher for the nasal than for the temporal quadrant of the iris, and were higher for men than for women. Increased values for all color channels correspond to a brighter iris color. Conclusions:The presented technique detected subtle changes of the human iris colour between test–groups but also between different areas of the iris. Significant iris–colour differences of gender and age were detected in the presented cross–sectional study. In contrast to our 0–hypotheses we found a significant and constant brightening of iris–colour with age, especially in males. These findings may be due to a longitudinal decrease of melanin in the iris stroma and contribute to a better understanding of possible changes of iris–pigmentation caused by topical therapy in glaucoma.

Keywords: iris • color appearance/constancy • imaging/image analysis: clinical 

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