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Thursday, July 12, 2018

Heterochromia What Is It

Have you ever noticed an individual that has two different colored eyes. One eye may be green and the other brown. This oddity is known as heterochromia. It is a rare event only occurring roughly in an average of 11 out of 1000 individuals. The genes of the individual is often the reason for the phenomenon but it is not the only reason it may happen as disease or injury may cause it as well. Humans can have heterochromia but dogs can as well. Dalmations and Australian sheepdogs are two known breeds to have heterochromia occur.

Heterochromia may occur completely where one iris of an eye is the different color than the iris of the other eye. Heterochromia may occur partly in that one iris is a different color from the rest of the iris or it may occur centrally where as the inner ring of an iris is different color than the rest of the iris. Eye color is greatly determined via concentration and distribution of a pigment called melanin throughout the iris.

Heterochromia comes from the Ancient Greek term "heteros" and means different and "chromas" which means color. It is a simple term that means surplu or lack of melanin in one or more area of the body. The event is not limited to eyes but can occur on skin color, hair, nails, and even teeth.

A few well known individuals with heterochromia include David Bowie, Kate Bosworth, Christopher Walken and Dan Aykroyd. Unless you get a close up view you may never know who does or does not have heterochromia.

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