It is always intriguing to learn some new and different aspect about a family relative. The following is not only unique and may be one that you are not familiar with, but there is even a special day set aside in recognition of the natural occurrence, that of July 12th. The medical term is ‘heterochromia’, it is where an individual is born with different colored eyes. I know this harmless condition because my husband has one brown eye and one hazel eye.
This human trait to due to either an excess or lack of the melanin which determines the eye color pigment. There is a certain concentration and distribution of melanin pigment within the iris tissues which cause the different eye color. A person can have a complete heterochromia meaning one eye is one color and different from the other eye. Or they can have a partial heterochromia where just part of the eye iris is a different color. Yet, it can also occur because of an injury where the melanocytes are damaged causing a change in eye color. So it is not just due to genes.
Those celebrities with this eye color trait include leader, Alexander the Great; Argentina writer, Pacho O’Donnell; actresses, Demi Moore and Jane Seymour and actors, Christopher Walken and Dan Aykroyd, to name a few.
Before this trait was medically understood there were many myths and fears related to it. Because the condition can also many times occur in animals such as dogs, the Native American Indians believed the different eye color in dogs meant they had ‘ghost eyes’ that one eye could see heaven and the other earth.
During other time periods, people with heterochromia were even thought to be witches or evil. The idea that someone with the different colored eyes could also see spirits from the afterlife or with supernatural events. Now it is thought to be very beautiful and intriguing to have different eye colors.
The overall percentage of people who have the different eye colors is very small, less than one-half of one percent. So check out your own family. Even if some photos are in black and white, you might be able to spot differences in the shading.