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What Is Heterochromia? | Weblog

Do you know that having two different-colored eyes is a situation referred to as heterochromia? That is additionally the time period used when one or each of your eyes has a couple of coloration within the iris (the coloured a part of the attention). 

The colour of the iris is set by the quantity of a pigment, referred to as melanin, that you’ve got in your physique. This pigment helps decide the colour of your eyes, hair, and pores and skin. For instance, the much less melanin you’ve, the lighter your eyes might be. 

Heterochromia most frequently outcomes from a innocent genetic mutation that occurs earlier than delivery. This mutation impacts the genes that produce melanin, and causes there to be totally different quantities of melanin in every iris. With totally different ranges of melanin, every eye might be a special coloration.

Each people and animals can have heterochromia. It’s way more frequent amongst animals, particularly domesticated animals comparable to cats and canine.

A woman with heterochromia wearing gold, wire-rim aviator style glasses frames

Heterochromia Iridum vs. Heterochromia Iridis

There are various kinds of heterochromia that may have an effect on an individual’s eye, pores and skin, and hair coloration. The phrases “iridium” and “iridis” are each used to seek advice from heterochromia of the eyes, however every has a particular that means.  

Folks with heterochromia iridum have two different-colored eyes. For instance, they could have one brown eye and one blue eye. In individuals with heterochromia iridis, the iris in a single or each eyes is made up of a couple of coloration.


Causes of Heterochromia

Heterochromia may be current at delivery (congenital) and it will probably additionally develop it later in life (acquired).

Congenital heterochromia is the sort you might be born with. Most instances are known as benign heterochromia as a result of the situation is innocent and unrelated to every other trigger.

When benign heterochromia is dominated out, the most typical reason behind congenital heterochromia is Horner syndrome. This can be a uncommon situation affecting the attention and tissue across the eye on one aspect of an individual’s face. Heterochromia often solely occurs in kids who develop Horner syndrome earlier than age 2.

Different causes of congenital heterochromia embody:

  • Bloch-Sulzberger syndrome
  • Bourneville illness
  • Hirschsprung illness
  • Parry-Romberg syndrome
  • Piebaldism
  • Sturge-Weber syndrome
  • von Recklinghausen illness
  • Waardenburg syndrome

Acquired heterochromia is the sort that develops later in life. Potential causes embody:

  • Eye harm
  • Horner syndrome (acquired)
  • Benign and malignant tumors of the iris
  • Bleeding within the eye
  • Eye swelling resulting from iritis or uveitis
  • Eye surgical procedure
  • Glaucoma and a few drugs used to deal with it
  • Iris ectropion syndrome
  • Ocular melanosis
  • Pigment dispersion syndrome

A wide range of different situations can result in acquired heterochromia, so it’s essential to see your eye physician in case you discover any dramatic or surprising modifications to your eye coloration or imaginative and prescient.

A woman with red hair and heterochromia

Kinds of Heterochromia

There are three forms of heterochromia:

  • Full heterochromia – That is when one iris in a single eye is a very totally different coloration than the iris within the different. For instance, you may have one blue eye and one brown eye.
  • Central heterochromia – In central heterochromia, a hoop of coloration surrounding the pupil is a special coloration than the remainder of the iris. This interior ring might be brown and the outer ring might be inexperienced. Central heterochromia typically seems in each eyes.
  • Sectoral heterochromia – This situation can also be referred to as partial heterochromia and occurs when one a part of the iris is a special coloration than the remaining. As an illustration, most of your iris might be brown with a wedge- or slice-shaped space of blue.



If an toddler has heterochromia, an eye fixed physician will sometimes conduct an eye fixed examination to see if there are any underlying causes. Usually there are not any situations to fret about, however having a child’s eyes examined can affirm this.

Adults whose eyes have modified coloration ought to have an eye fixed examination as quickly as doable to find out the trigger and get a plan for remedy if wanted.



SInce heterochromia is commonly innocent, no remedy is required. In case your eye physician finds there’s an underlying trigger, you’ll be handled for that particular situation. 

No matter your eye coloration, now we have all kinds of studying glasses, eyeglasses, and sun shades that can assist you see higher and look your finest.



  1. Heterochromia. Cleveland Clinic. June 2023.
  2. What causes heterochromia? The Tech Interactive. September 2018.
  3. Do extra animals have heterochromia than people? All About Imaginative and prescient. September 2020.
  4. Horner’s syndrome. All About Imaginative and prescient. February 2021.
  5. Heterochromia. EyeSmart. American Academy of Ophthalmology. April 2021.
  6. What’s heterochromia and why do some individuals have totally different coloured eyes? Dean McGee Eye Institute. Accessed August 2023.
  7. Heterochromia. StatPearls [Internet]. June 2023.

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