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  • Jaejeong & Jaeah Kim

Heterochromia Iridum: A Beautiful Mutation


(brothers with Heterochromia iridum)


What color are your eyes? Brown? Blue? Green? Would you believe me if I told you that some people have more than one eye color? In a rare condition called Heterochromia iridum (hetero- different, chromia- colors, iridum- refers to the iris of the eye), a person can have different colored eyes. Blue & Green, Blue & Brown, Green & Brown, you name it, anything is possible. Heterochromia iridum is usually benign, meaning it is not a ‘disease,’ and it doesn’t affect visual acuity in any way. Often referred to as ‘a beautiful mutation,’ here’s some more about this curious condition.


Before we get into anything else, you should know that there are three different types of Heterochromia iridum: Complete heterochromia, partial heterochromia, and central heterochromia.. These three types of heterochromia differ only in where the different colors are located. In complete heterochromia the iris in one eye has a completely different color than the iris of the other eye, in partial heterochromia a section of the iris of one eye has a different color than the rest of the iris of that eye, and in central heterochromia the iris has a different coloring near the border of the pupil. One thing often confused for Hdeterochromia iridium is a benign growth on the iris called an iris nevus, where a round, pigmented, nevus appears on the iris. Although a nevus (mostly brown in color) on a green or blue iris may have a similar external appearance as Heterochromia iridum, it isn’t clinically classified as such.


If you think you might have Heterochromia Idridum (it’s pretty easy to self-diagnose), please go see an eye doctor. Although most cases of heterochromia are benign, your heterochromia may be a symptom of a larger, non-benign condition. Once your eye doctor confirms that your heterochromia is indeed benign, then live on, enjoying all the compliments about your beautiful eyes. Hey, it’s good to be different., Hirschsprung disease, Waardenburg syndrome, Sturge-Weber syndrome, and more. Benign heterochromia can also arise as a result of a genetic mutation during embryonic development. Heterochromia developed later on in life is called acquired heterochromia, and can occur as a result of many underlying conditions such as Horner’s syndrome, iris tumor, eye inflammation, eye injury, diabetes, pigment dispersion syndrome, glaucoma, eye surgery, latisse, ocular melanosis, bleeding in the eye, and more.


If you think you might have Heterochromia iridum (it’s pretty easy to self-diagnose), please go see an eye doctor. Although most cases of heterochromia are benign, your heterochromia may be a symptom of a larger, non-benign condition. Once your eye doctor confirms that your heterochromia is indeed benign, then live on, enjoying all the compliments about your beautiful eyes. Hey, it’s good to be different.




Sources:

https://www.medicinenet.com/heterochromia_iridis/article.htm

https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/diseases/8590/heterochromia-iridis

https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-is-heterochromia


Photo credit: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7511583/Brothers-born-stunning-DIFFERENT-coloured-eyes.html

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