While relatively uncommon, it’s possible to have two different colored eyes – as quite a few celebrities, such as Dan Aykroyd, Kate Bosworth, Mila Kunis, Christopher Walken and Jane Seymour, can personally attest! Called heterochromia, this condition is typically benign and has no effects on visual acuity. But it can definitely contribute to an exotic, memorable appearance.
To make sure your heterochromia doesn’t indicate a problem, schedule an eye exam at one of our eye care centers in Overland, St. Charles, Maryland Heights, and and the entire city of St. Louis, Missouri. We’ll check your eye health thoroughly and provide a prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses, if needed.
3 types of heterochromia
Your eye color is determined by the amount of melanin in the iris. Blue eyes have the smallest quantity of melanin, and brown eyes have the largest amount. There are three types of heterochromia, categorized according to where the different colors are located in the eye:
- Complete heterochromia – The iris of one eye is an entirely different color than the iris of the other eye.
- Partial heterochromia (AKA sectoral heterochromia) – Only a part (or sector) of one eyes’ iris has a different color; this can occur in one or both eyes.
- Central heterochromia – The color near the border of the iris is different from the color near the border of the pupil. Spikes of the central color radiate from the pupil towards the middle of the iris.
Causes of heterochromia - congenital and acquired
This colorful eye condition can be congenital, meaning that it’s either present from birth, or it appeared in early childhood when the iris attained its full quantity of melanin. Congenital heterochromia is benign and genetic, or it can be the result of a genetic mutation during development of the embryo.
When heterochromia develops later in life, it is called acquired heterochromia. Typically, it happens because of a serious injury to the eye, uveitis and particular medications to treat glaucoma. Latisse eye drops, often used nowadays as a cosmetic treatment to thicken eyelashes, can also cause a color change in your iris.
Sometimes, heterochromia appears as a symptom of another health condition, such as Horner’s syndrome. This condition is the combination of partial ptosis, a constricted pupil, and the loss of the ability to sweat on half of the face. All of the symptoms are caused by a disruption of certain nerve impulses to the eye.
Heterochromia: contact lenses vs. eyeglasses
Heterochromia only requires treatment if it was caused by swelling or another underlying health problem. Otherwise, it can be left alone. However, some people are self-conscious about this condition and prefer to hide it by wearing colored contact lenses in one or both eyes. Our eye doctor in Overland, St. Charles, Maryland Heights, and and the entire city of St. Louis, Missouri, can help match you with the best tint of contact lenses to give eyes that show the same exact hue. If you require vision correction to see, both eyeglasses and contact lenses will provide sharp visual acuity – but only colored contact lenses will mask the heterochromia.
Be safe – get an eye exam
Although most cases of heterochromia are there from birth and totally harmless, if you or your child has different colored eyes, book an eye exam to rule out any other serious conditions. Once your eye doctor determines that your eyes are healthy, you can enjoy the exotic appearance heterochromia adds to your look!
If you need vision correction, your eye doctor can fit you with prescription eyeglasses from our trending optical collection, or with premium contact lenses from our full inventory. Bring your current vision prescription to Overland Optical Family Eye Care, located conveniently in Overland, St. Charles, Maryland Heights, and and the entire city of St. Louis, Missouri.
At Overland Optical Family Eye Care, we put your family's needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 314-423-3874 or book an appointment online to see one of our Overland eye doctors.
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