Fun Fact Friday: The Human Eye Can See 10 Million Colors

December 7, 2018
Human Eye Sees 10 Million Colors

Human Eye Sees 10 Million Colors

Fun Fact Friday: The Human Eye Can See 10 Million Colors

Did you know that the human eye can see 10 million colors? Did you know this to be true, or did you think the number was much lower? Did you know that there are some animals that see in black and white, and some animals that don’t even have eyes. However, the most interesting fact is that the mantis shrimp has 12 photo receptors in their eyes, whereas humans only have 3. Click to continue reading about how the human eye perceives color?

What Does It Mean To See Color?

Color is defined as a wavelength of light. The longest wavelengths are reds, and oranges, while shorter wavelengths are blues and purples. Black would be the absence of color, and white light is all of the colors combined. This is easy to remember if you know the triangular logo for the band, Pink Floyd. This is a ray of white light entering through a prism, and emitting as a refraction of different colors of light.

How Do We See Color?

The human eye has three photo receptors. We absorb light through our eyes, and these wavelengths dictate what color the cones in our eyes see. Rods are able to detect low levels of light. Our eye sends these signals to our brain, and our brains are actually what puts together the images we think we see with our eyes.

What Does It Mean To Be Color Blind?

Most people can see a wide array of different colors. However, some people’s eyes and brains do not recognize color. The most common form of colorblindness is red-green.  This is when their brains do not see the colors red or green, but instead grey. This can lead to confusion amongst the colors. So how do they know what color the light changed to while driving? This is why the colors are stacked. The light at the top is red, and the bottom green; this is universal for most three colored stop lights. There are many celebrities who are color blind. Some celebrities with colorblindness include Eddie Redmayne, President Bill Clinton, Keanu Reaves, Mark Zuckerberg, Prince William, and Howie Mandel.

Final Thoughts

If you are wondering about why our eyes have different colors, that would be from melanin pigmentation. Have you ever met someone who is color blind? Do you have a favorite color? Do you think seeing color is amazing. Is there any way you can try to describe color? If you have any other requests or ideas for our Fun Fact Friday series, comment below!


  1. The details very important to our knowledge also our children.

  2. Could you post a source for your “10 million colors” number? Wikipedia lists 1 millions, which is source to just 1 source and is just an estimate. By my own calculations, I estimate that it is probably closer to somewhere between 27000 and 216000. The 1 million number is based on an estimate of 100 shades per colors, but doesn’t take into consideration that a high intensity of 1 color can reduce the range of another color when that color is at low intensity, so a simple 100x100x100 equation most likely isn’t valid. Furthermore, none of the sources (including here) define what they mean by color, e.g. are shades of grey considered colors?

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