Have you come across people with eyes of two different colours? As per
research, six out of every thousand people have this interesting trait
called Heterochromia (Source). In heterochromia, the iris of the eye is partly
(or completely) multicoloured. For example, one eye is brown and the other
eye is blue. So what leads to heterochromia? A pigment called melanin gives
colour to the iris. In some cases, heterochromia is caused by the variation
in the distribution or delivery of this pigment.
In major cases, heterochromia is genetic. In rare scenarios, heterochromia
can occur due to injury or it can act as a symptom of some other medical
condition. Let’s look at the major causes of heterochromia along with techniques
to address this eye ailment in detail.
Causes of Heterochromia
If a child is born with heterochromia then it is referred to as congenital
heterochromia. In most cases of congenital heterochromia, the child does
not experience any major pain.
Sometimes causes of heterochromia can be underlying conditions like:
If the eye colour changes
as an adult (or after infanthood), it is called Acquired Heterochromia.
Acquired heterochromia can occur due to the following reasons:
Types of Heterochromia
Based on the distribution of melanin pigment in the iris, there are three
types of heterochromia:
Complete heterochromia occurs when both eyes have completely different
colours. For example, one eye is brown and the other is green.
When heterochromia is incomplete (i.e. segmental or central) it is termed
as Heterochromia Iridis. Heterochromia Iridis causes only a part of the
iris to be of a different colour.
In segmental heterochromia, a pie-shaped part of the iris is differently
coloured. It can occur either in one or both eyes.
Central heterochromia is the most common type of heterochromia. In this
type, the iris of both eyes are almost of the same colour and a ring is
formed around the pupil. For example: the eyes are hazel with a golden
ring around the center.
Treatments for Heterochromia
Congenital heterochromia or heterochromia by birth usually doesn’t need
any treatment. If heterochromia is acquired or caused by an underlying
illness or injury, the root cause has to be treated.
In case of a sudden change in the eye colour, you should immediately consult
How Centre for Sight can help?
Centre for Sight provides specialized eye care, with highly specialised eye experts and
state-of-the-art eye treatment technology. We have experts who can conduct
thorough diagnosis of different types of heterochromia and provide honest
clinical opinion for the best treatment.
Article: Heterochromia: The Mystery Behind Different-Colored Eyes
Author: CFS Editorial Team | Feb 22, 2021 | UPDATED 01:20 IST
*The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Centre for Sight.