A beautiful anomaly.

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They say the eyes speak volumes about your beauty. They carry a stream of emotions for you to dive into and reflect the colours of your personality. So, while most people use contact lenses to beautify their eyes, some people are blessed in disguise of an anomaly that makes them both beautiful and unique. In medical terms we call it as heterochromia.

 What is heterochromia?

Heterochromia is a condition that describes colour variation in iris determined by the production and concentration of melanin pigment. Melanin pigment gives eye its colour. The lesser the pigment produced in the eye; the lighter is the colour of the iris (blue). Normally both irises have the same colour. In heterochromia, the iris may be hypopigmented or hyperpigmented as compared to the other.

In complete heterochromia, one iris is completely different in colour than the other. Sectoral or partial heterochromia describes a condition when a single iris has different colour combinations.

What causes this uniqueness?

Most of the cases result from chromosomal mutations such as mutations in the genes that affect melanin distribution at 8-HTP pathway. Some acquired cases have also been reported following iritis and anterior uveitis. Whatever the cause maybe, this anomaly is most commonly seen in cats and dogs and is very rare in humans. Sturge-weber syndrome and Waardenburg syndrome may also result in heterochromia.

Rarity and treatment:

Speaking of how rare it can be in humans, the incidence of congenital heterochromia is 6 in every 1000, and this too hardly noticeable. Treatment involves iris transplant surgery (highly controversial due to cosmetic reasons). Besides, who would want to let go of the opportunity to look beautiful and unique? (as most of the times it does not cause any problems)

Famous Celebrities with this condition:

  • Alice Eve
  • Kate Bosworth
  • Dominic Sherwood

References:

“Heterochromia: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia”. Nlm.nih.gov. Retrieved 2014-04-27.

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