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Alternative Names Return to topDifferently colored eyes; Eyes - different colors
Definition Return to top
Heterochromia is the presence of different colored eyes in the same person.
Considerations Return to top
Heterochromia is uncommon in humans, but quite common in dogs (such as Dalmatians and Australian sheep dogs), cats, and horses.
Causes Return to top
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:
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
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 Office Visit Return to top
Your health care provider may ask the following questions to help evaluate the cause:
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.Update Date: 11/13/2007 Updated 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.