Heterochromia

Saturday, Jun 1, 2024 by Nisha Gupta, MD

This month we will talk about the condition heterochromia.

What is heterochromia?

Heterochromia is when the irises are different colors. The entire iris may be a different color from the other eye or part of it may be different. Another type is when there is an inner ring that is colored differently from the outer part of the iris.

What are the causes?

There are many causes of heterochromia. Congenital heterochromia is when one is born with it, or it develops soon after birth. Some causes include benign heterochromia, Horner’s syndrome, Sturge-Weber syndrome, Waardenburg syndrome, Hirschsprung disease.

Acquired heterochromia is when it develops later in life. Some causes include injury, surgery, inflammation like uveitis, Fuchs’ cyclitis, Horner’s syndrome, medications, and iris tumors.

What are the symptoms?

Usually there are no symptoms. If the heterochromia is due to a specific condition, the symptoms will be related to that condition. For instance, uveitis can cause blurry vision, light sensitivity, and eye redness.

How is it detected?

A comprehensive exam is required to determine the type of heterochromia and the underlying cause. Additional imaging may be necessary depending on the cause.

What are the treatments?

Treatment is based on the underlying condition causing the heterochromia. If there are no eye symptoms, no treatment may be necessary.

Return next month for a discussion on a new topic!

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