Heterochromia

Heterochromia

Hands down, Nathan has the most unique anatomy in the Blakeney household. Besides the associated health issues, a component of Scimitar Syndrome is that his heart is twisted backwards in his chest.  Of course, this is, generally speaking, no laughing matter; we were tremendously blessed to have followed him through successful heart surgery.  But we do find our sense of humor about his dextrocardia sometimes.  We point out that he is the only member of the family who should pledge allegiance to the flag with his left hand over his right-sided heart.

Heterochromia:  My daughter, Michelle, has a green eye and a blue eye.

Heterochromia: My daughter, Michelle, has a green eye and a blue eye.

So Nathan has the most unique anatomy in the family; but his sister, Michelle, has the most unique eyes in the family. Filling out forms that ask for eye color is straightforward for most of my kids.  Nathan, Adam, and Natalie, have green eyes.  Steven has blue eyes.  Michelle, however, is in a bit of a dilemma when asked to write down her eye color, because one eye is blue and one is green.  It’s a subtle difference, usually takes good lighting to recognize, but she has been grabbed by the face on occasion by the curious observer seeking a better look:  “Hey, what’s up with your eyes?”

David Bowie

David Bowie

Jane Seymour

Jane Seymour

A difference in the coloration of irises is called heterochromia.  There are two kinds of heterochromia, partial and complete.  In partial heterochromia, the iris has two different colored sections.  Complete heterochromia, which Michelle has, means the eyes are two different colors.

Dan Aykroyd

Dan Aykroyd

Kate Bosworth

Kate Bosworth

Certain species of animals are more likely than humans to have this trait. A former boss of mine had a beautiful white manx with a tail that had a striking set of eyes, one blue and one gold, similar to the cat pictured above.  The imperfection had no negative effect at foo-foo kitty pageants; she frequently won awards, including Best of Show.  Other animals that may exhibit heterochromia include dogs (such as Siberian Huskies), horses, cattle, and water buffalo.

Gracie Allen

Gracie Allen

Even a few celebrities have heterochromia. Take a good look at the eyes of Jane Seymour, Kate Bosworth, David Bowie, and Dan Aykroyd.  The late Gracie Allen also sported two different-colored eyes.

Heterochromia is usually the result of heredity, although it can be caused by a disease or a syndrome (Neurofibromatosis or Waardenberg Syndrome, e.g.).  Occasionally, an eye may change color after an injury, which is the cause of David Bowie’s heterochromia.  Michelle?  She just has a case of funky eyes. ;)

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