Posted by: juliegriffey | November 7, 2010

How Do You Get Two Different Colored Eyes?

A neighbor of mine has a dog with two different colored eyes.  Recently, it caught my attention and caused me to wonder why it occurs and how common it is.

Having two different colored eyes (otherwise known as heterochromia) can be seen in both humans and in animals, typically cats and dogs. In fact, in some breeds such as siberian huskies, it is quite common. In people, it is not quite as common.  200,000 people in the U.S. have this condition – or about 1 in 1,600.

What causes this?  Heterochromia can be inherited or caused by an injury.  I can’t begin to explain the genetic mutations that must occur to cause this condition. So lets talk about injury. Do you get knocked in the head and all of the sudden your eyes are two different colors? Not exactly.

The color of our eyes is due to the amount of pigment we have in our eyes.  Brown eyes have more pigment and blue eyes, very little.  If you get a foreign body in your eye, the blood vessels can hemorrhage and the effected area will be bruised. This can cause some darkening of the eye color.  And that is how your blue eye may turn hazel, or brown.

Some people feel self-conscious about their heterochromia and make their eyes match by using colored contacts. Other people proudly flaunt their mis-matched eyes. Famous celebrities with heterochromia include David Bowie, Kate Botsworth and Jane Seymour.


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