By ANAHAD O'CONNOR
THE FACTS What if you woke up every day and your eyes were a different color?
As bizarre as it may sound, some people claim that their eyes shift hues from one day to the next, or even, at times, from one moment to the next, depending on their moods or their outfits.
Experts say the phenomenon exists, but it may be to some extent an illusion.
People perceive colors based on the light that bounces off objects, and some of that light - for instance, the red light from a red jacket - is going to be reflected in the eyes, said Dr. Norman Saffra, the chairman of the ophthalmology department at the Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn.
In a person with black or brown eyes, the reflected color is hard to notice. But in a person whose eyes are lighter - particularly hazel or blue - light hitting the colored part of the eye, called the iris, creates an illusion that the eye has shifted colors.
Clothing can have this effect, Dr. Saffra explained, but so can a different pair of glasses or even a new hair color.
"Anything that is physically closer to the eyes can do it," he said.
This phenomenon also stems from other sources.
For example, any emotion that dilates the pupil, which determines how much light reaches the back of the eye, can make a person's iris appear to change color.
THE BOTTOM LINE Eye color can be affected by clothing as well as mood.