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The Unusual Condition Called Heterochromia Iridis

Have you ever heard of the medical condition called heterochromia iridis? It is more common in cats and dogs than it is in humans. In some dog breeds, such as huskies and Australian Shepherds, it is quite common, actually. 

While heterochromia iridis isn’t common in humans, it still occurs in about 6 out of every 1000 people. In fact, David Bowie, Christopher Walken, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Elizabeth Berkley Lauren, Demi Moore, Simon Pegg, Jane Seymour, and Kate Bosworth, all well-known celebrities, were all born with heterochromia iridis. I worked with a wonderful woman who had it, too, and it is possible that some of you have known people who had it, perhaps without even knowing that they did.

So what is this unusual, mysterious medical condition that all of these celebs have? Look carefully at the picture of Jane Seymour and you might be able to figure it out. Heterochromia iridis is a condition in which a person has one eye that is one color and the other eye is another color. In the case of Jane Seymour, her left eye is hazel and her right eye is brown.

Many people who have this condition are quite self-conscious about it. Many may even wear contact lenses to change one eye color to match that of the other. Laser surgery has also been developed that can change the color of one or both eyes. 

Personally, I’ve never seen it as an affliction, though. It merely makes the person visibly unique. We are all unique in one way or another anyway. Of course, I was also a fan of the TV program, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, with Jane Seymour playing the title role.

  • Have you personally known anyone, to your knowledge, who had heterochromia iridis?

    • Yes
    • No

What do you think?

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Written by Rex Trulove

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12 Comments

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    • Yes, she is and she carries her age very well. She doesn’t look close to being as old as she is. Back in the mid-1990s when she was doing Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, she was already in her forties and she’s actually 5 years older than I am. She sure doesn’t look it.

  1. Never even knew such a condition existed.

    Here in my country we have predominantly black eye colour with just a few specs of brown here and there.

    Anyways, like you, if I saw someone with two eye colours I would see it as an affliction, but would instead be fascinated.

    • I feel exactly that way; fascinated. I feel the same way when I see someone who has very dark skin and amber-colored or pale blue eyes. I can’t stop staring at their eyes. It is rare, but it does happen and I’ve known a few people who had eyes like that.

  2. I have heard of this before, but not known anyone personally with this condition. I did know a boy at school who had one eye pupil that was shaped like an apple pip – it did not affect his vision in any way – but this is not the same thing!

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