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Could my brown eyes be causing my Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Have you ever experienced sadness during the winter months or felt like your energy levels were lower and your motivation decreased? Seasonal depression, otherwise known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects many people during the cold, dreary months of winter and is typically caused by a lack of natural light.

I’ve been taking my Vitamin D religiously since early Fall to try and combat the lack of natural light yet I still feel myself having low energy, sleeping more, and feeling lethargic.

Could it be because I have brown eyes? A new study suggests it’s possible.

The study, published in the Open Access Journal of Behavioural Science & Psychology, looked at 175 college students. The participants were given a questionnaire that helped “estimate the extent to which an individual varies in mood with the seasons.” The data revealed that people with light or blue eyes “scored significantly lower on the seasonal pattern assessment questionnaire than those with dark or brown eyes.” Study leader Lance Workman says this echo’s the findings of previous research, and may be explained by the fact that those with lighter-colored eyes are more sensitive, and therefore don’t absorb as much light as those with darker-colored eyes do. Additionally, those with lighter-colored eyes don’t release as much of the sleep hormone melatonin in the body in the colder months, compared to those with darker-colored eyes. Melatonin has been known to worsen depression symptoms.

It’s something to consider. And while you can’t change the color of your eyes, if you feel you are prone to Seasonal Affective Disorder, I urge you to call your doctor for treatment options such as light therapy or medication.

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