Heterochromia: A colourful world with different eye colours

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Considered as one of the most beautiful and crucial sensory organs, eyes allow us to see the colorful mother nature. The colors are spread everywhere, even in the eyes. And this phenomenon is called Heterochromia.

Hetero… what?

Heterochromia is a condition where people have different coloured eyes. “Heterochromia iridum” and “Heterochromia iridis” are some other terms which refer to the iris of the eye. Heterochromia Iridum is about having two different colours in both eyes, and people who are affected with Heterochromia Iridus have a different colour pigment in some part of the iris in one or both eyes. Heterochromia is either inherited by genetic mosaicism, by eye injury or gets developed over the period of time. It occurs mainly in humans and certain breeds of cats and dogs. Let’s look at how genetic and heterochromia are different from each other.

Congenital Heterochromia

Genetic heterochromia traces its root to parents or grandparents. The parental gene for heterochromia is autosomal dominant, which means the chances of getting congenital heterochromia is high if your parents or grandparents had it.

Acquired Heterochromia

There is a term called ‘Melanin’ – it is the dark pigment in the iris of the eye which plays a crucial role in displaying eye colour. When a person gets an eye injury or disease due to the side-effects of certain medication, the melanin gets disturbed and changes its colours. It can also happen due to severe bleeding inside the eyeball.

eye colour

While these two are the key causes of heterochromia, there are three types of heterochromia:

1. Complete Heterochromia

This is where one eye has a different colour than the other eye. It is also majorly known as Heterochromia iridum.

2.Central Heterochromia

This type of heterochromia is recognised by a different colour border around the pupil with a different pigmentation from the rest of the iris. The ring is usually located at the centre of the iris closest to the pupil. 

3.Partial heterochromia (or sectoral heterochromia)

This type of heterochromia is characterised as only a portion (or some region) of the iris has a different colour than pigmentation from the rest of iris. It may occur in one or both eyes.

If you see a person with different coloured eyes, they are more likely to have Benign Heterochromia which looks attractive and appealing and you wouldn’t stop but gaze continuously into the person’s eyes. There are many popular celebrities in the west with heterochromia. Here are the few names listed below.

  • Mila Kunis
  • Henry Cavill
  • Simon Pegg
  • Kate Bosworth
  • Alice Eve
  • Jessica Cauffiel
  • Christopher Walken
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