What is Heterochromia?
Heterochromia is a condition of eyes that make you possess two different colors of irises. Scientifically, it is called heterochromia iridis or heterochromia iridium.
In the case of complete heterochromia, the color of one iris is completely different from the other. For example, the color of one iris is green, the other is brown. Partial or segmented heterochromia is characterized by a spot of difference in color in the same eye.
Heterochromia may either be genetic or congenital, present at birth or develops shortly thereafter. In rare cases, heterochromia occurs due to an injury or disease. Hereditary heterochromia is inherited as an autosomal dominant trait. Most people born with heterochromia do not have any diseases, but sometimes, it is a symptom of an underlying disease. Some of the diseases are:
Characterized by the lack of pigment on skin, eyes, and hair. It is a relatively harmless condition, but, in rare cases, can lead to hearing loss.
Caused by damage to the nerves connecting the brain and eyes.
Sturge Weber syndrome
Where there are brain, skin, and eye abnormalities due to the abnormal development of certain blood vessels, characterized by pinkish or purplish marks on their faces.
This is a group of diseases that result in changes in the color of eyes, skin, and hair, sometimes leading to hearing loss
Affects the large intestine of newborn babies and toddlers making them unable to pass stool easily.
Causes why someone may develop heterochromia later in life
- Fuchs syndrome: This is characterized by poor, cloudy vision, glare sensitivity, and eye pain and is caused by the deterioration of the cells in the cornea whose main function is to regulate the amount of fluid in the cornea.
- Glaucoma: This is a progressive disease characterized by fluid build-up in parts or full of your eyes and causes damage to the optic nerves.
- Neuroblastoma: This is a type of cancer developing in the nerve cells of the sympathetic nervous system.
- Melanoma: This is when the eye or ocular cancer developing in the eye cells that produce melanin pigment.
- Medications: Some drugs or even eye surgery can cause heterochromia.
Majority of people with heterochromia iridis do not have any visual complaints or impairment. Most cases are not associated with any other underlying illnesses. However, it is important to consult a doctor when you develop heterochromia.
They will most likely refer to an ophthalmologist to make sure there are no underlying causes that may be concerning. If it isn’t caused by any other condition, there is no need for any treatment or cure. However, if you want both your eyes to be of the same color, you can wear colored contact lenses.
Custom-made contact lenses are also made to order by many manufacturers. If one eye is olive and the other is grey, a combination of lens me caramel and lens me cloud is used to make the eyes of the same color. Made-to-order lenses are tailored to fit the users having heterochromia to achieve the same color in both eyes.