Understanding Heterochromia in Children

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Last updated on December 29th, 2019 at 10:23 am

Although uncommon, it’s possible for a person to have two different colored eyes. This condition is known as heterochromia, which may appear in two forms. In heterochromia iridis, various colors appear within the iris of a single eye, whereas in heterochromia iridum, a person has eyes that are different colors from one another, explains Scientific American.

To better understand this condition and its effects on your child, read over these eye-opening facts about heterochromia.

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How Common Is Heterochromia?

Heterochromia iridis affects around six in 1,000 people, reports MedicineNet. In most cases, the condition is barely noticeable and there are no other abnormalities.

What Causes Heterochromia?

Heterochromia can be hereditary or caused by a disease, syndrome, or injury. When the condition is congenital, it may be genetic or a product of an intrauterine disease or injury.

What Injuries, Diseases and Syndromes Can Lead to Heterochromia?

According to MedlinePlus, common causes of heterochromia include:

  • A hemorrhage
  • A foreign object entering the eye
  • Glaucoma
  • Mild inflammation
  • Pigment dispersion syndrome
  • Iris ectropion syndrome

What Congenital Syndromes May Cause Heterochromia?

A number of congenital syndromes may lead to heterochromia iridis, including:

  • Waardenburg syndrome
  • Piebaldism
  • Congenital Horner’s syndrome
  • Sturge-Weber syndrome
  • Neurofibromatosis type 1 (von Recklinghausen disease)
  • Tuberous sclerosis (Bourneville disease)

Does Heterochromia Affect Vision?

Most cases of heterochromia are very mild, non-progressive and unassociated with other eye conditions. Heterochromia only requires treatment if it’s been caused by inflammation or another underlying problem. However, those who experience major cosmetic impairment may choose to wear tinted contact lenses in one or both eyes.

Consult a health care provider if your child has different colored eyes, or you notice any new changes in the color of one eye in you or your children.

Looking out for signs of heterochromia iridis is just one way you can take care of your children’s eye health. It is also important to protect your kids’ eyes from UV rays with a pair of sunglasses every time you head outdoors. You can find a range of stylish shades for children in the Real Kids’ collection.

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