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I was talking to a teenager and he told me that his eyes change colors a lot.

And I asked him how's that? Why's it change? I questioned him saying "it's an illusion probably? from light exposure?"

Did I use the word exposure correctly? What I wanted to say is that, could the color change be an illusion from being in different lit areas, such as the sun.

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No. If you're talking about eyes and "light exposure" that would normally be taken to mean the intensity of the ambient lighting. In fact, OP intends to allude to the predominant colour spectrum of the ambient light, and exposure is a bad way of referencing that. "Ambient lighting conditions" or "background light" might be better. – FumbleFingers Oct 17 '12 at 16:49
up vote 3 down vote accepted

The word you were looking for was "optical illusion". Much like the attached image. Your eyes interpret what they are seeing, but make errors caused by interference. Surrounding light levels, other reflected colors or brightness can trick the eye of the observer so they see something else.

I too experience this. When I wear a green shirt my eyes look for green when looking in the mirror. Taking the shirt off reduces the green color, yet my eye color never changed.

This image appears to be rotating, but it's not:

enter image description here

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Contextual intensity of light (and hence exposure or illumination) can have plenty of effects on color perception...here are two examples.

Here the purpose colors are the same in tone

enter image description here

Here image areas A and B are in the same shade of gray! The shadow makes it seem otherwise. Explanation/proof.

I also find it interesting that people from equatorial regions are known for using a lot of bright paint colors and fabrics whereas those from northern climes with less sunlight often prefer grays, browns, navies, neutrals, and other unsaturated colors. I've come to wonder whether it's because saturated colors look garish in dim light and neutral colors look washed out in bright light.

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That's definitely a factor, and I feel the colors of the rooms play a major role in the vibes it gives off. – Theo Oct 18 '12 at 19:35

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