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Heterochromia
Heterochromia


Definition:

Heterochromia is the presence of different colored eyes in the same person.



Alternative Names:

Differently colored eyes; Eyes - different colors



Considerations:

Heterochromia is uncommon in humans, but quite common in dogs (such as Dalmatians and Australian sheep dogs), cats, and horses.



Common Causes:

Most cases of heterochromia are hereditary, caused by a disease or syndrome, or due to an injury. Sometimes one eye may change color following certain diseases or injuries.

Specific causes of eye color changes include:

  • Bleeding (hemorrhage)
  • Familial heterochromia
  • Foreign object in the eye
  • Glaucoma , or some medications used to treat it
  • Injury
  • Mild inflammation affecting only one eye
  • Neurofibromatosis
  • Waardenberg syndrome


Home Care:



Call your health care provider if:

Consult your health care provider if you notice new changes in the color of one eye, or two differently colored eyes in your infant. A thorough eye examination is needed to be sure this isn't a symptom of a medical problem.

Some conditions and syndromes associated with heterochromia, such as pigmentary glaucoma, can only be detected by a thorough eye exam.



What to expect at your health care provider's office:

Your health care provider may ask the following questions to help evaluate the cause:

  • Did you notice the two different eye colors when the child was born, shortly after the birth, or recently?
  • Are any other symptoms present?

An infant with heterochromia should be examined by both a pediatrician and an ophthalmologist for other possible problems.

A complete eye examination can rule out most causes of heterochromia. If there doesn't seem to be an underlying disorder, no further testing may be necessary. If another disorder is suspected, diagnostic tests, such as blood tests or chromosome studies , may be done to confirm the diagnosis.




Review Date: 11/13/2007
Reviewed By: Manju Subramanian, M.D., Assistant Professor in Ophthalmology, Vitreoretinal Disease and Surgery, Boston University Eye Associates, Boston, MA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
789 Central Avenue, Dover, NH 03820
Phone: (603) 742-5252
Toll free: 1 (877) 201-7100