What is Heterochromia? Causes, Types and Treatment

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Have you ever looked someone in the eye and noticed they have 2 different colored eyes? This is called heterochromia and is usually of no further concern.

What is Heterochromia?

What is Heterochromia?

When a person’s irises are different in color, they have heterochromia.

There are a few kinds of heterochromia. When the complete iris is a different color from the other, it’s called complete heterochromia. When only a part of the iris has a different color, it’s called partial heterochromia. Central heterochromia means there is only an inner ring on the iris with a different color.

Causes of Heterochromia

The color of the irises is determined by the amount and distribution of a pigment called melanin. Heterochromia is caused by either lack or excess of melanin in one eye.

Most cases are hereditary, but sometimes heterochromia can be caused by certain diseases or an injury that causes one eye to change color.

An infant can be born with heterochromia or develop it soon after birth. This is called congenital heterochromia. In most cases, this is of no concern, and there will be no other symptoms or health issues.

However, in some cases, there can be underlying conditions. An ophthalmologist should therefore examine a newborn or infant with heterochromia to rule out any other health issues.

When a person develops heterochromia later in life, it’s called acquired heterochromia and is caused by disease or injury.

Causes can be:

  • Eye injury or foreign object in the eye
  • Eye surgery
  • Bleeding or inflammation in one eye
  • Glaucoma and some medications to treat it
  • Tumors of the iris
  • Diabetes
  • Central retinal vein occlusion
  • Neurofibromatosis

When an adult develops heterochromia later in life, they should be examined by an ophthalmologist to determine the cause. Treatment will be focused on the underlying condition. If no other eye issues exist, no treatment is needed for the heterochromia.

Some famous people with heterochromia include:

  • Keifer Sutherland
  • Kate Bosworth
  • Demi Moore
  • Dan Akroyd
  • David Bowie developed heterochromia due to a childhood injury.

Every patient deserves top-quality eye care from us. European Eye Center focuses on providing Western-standard services and determining appropriate treatment plans to help patients restore their vision in a feel-like-home atmosphere.

We are happy to help if you have questions about the heterochromia. Don’t hesitate to connect with us at info@europeaneyecenter.com.

Contact us today to schedule an eye care service!

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Ann De Fraye

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