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What Is Heterochromia? Dothan Eye Doctor Explains January 9, 2018

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What Is Heterochromia? Dothan Eye Doctor Explains, Dothan, Alabama

The iris is a circular membrane in the eye, responsible for adjusting the size of the pupil. In addition to helping control the amount of light entering your eye at any given time, the iris is also responsible for giving your eyes their unique color. While most people have two irises of the same color, there are certain individuals whose irises appear as two distinct colors. This is the result of a condition known as heterochromia. As Dr. Ron Sealock, an eye doctor in Dothan, AL, notes, heterochromia is a rare, benign condition, which can occur as the result of eye trauma or a congenital mutation. 

Eye Doctor Explains Everything You Need to Know About Heterochromia


eye doctorIn most cases, heterochromia is the result of a benign mutation. For individuals with congenital heterochromia, melanin is not evenly produced in the irises. This results in two different eye colors such as a brown eye and a blue eye, or a green eye and a gray eye. Congenital heterochromia is typically present from birth or can develop in early childhood.

This condition may also occur as the result of illness or trauma. Individuals with acquired heterochromia can develop two differently colored irises or have one pupil that is permanently dilated. At first glance, it can be difficult to distinguish between congenital and acquired heterochromia. However, the difference in color tends to be more pronounced in congenital cases.


Eye doctors categorize heterochromia into three different types: complete, segmental, and central. Complete heterochromia occurs when each iris is a pronounced, distinct color. In segmental, just a small patch of one iris may be a unique color. Finally, in central heterochromia, there may be a small, contrasting ring of color around the eye’s pupil. 

Potential Concerns

Heterochromia poses no health threats to patients living with the condition. However, it can be a sign of a more serious complication. Very often, this condition develops in response to diabetes, glaucoma, or a tumor of the eye. Visiting your eye doctor for a complete eye exam is the only way to conclusively determine the cause of this change.

If you are in the market for an experienced eye doctor in the Dothan, AL, area, contact Dr. Ron Sealock. At Dr. Sealock’s optometry center, you’ll find state-of-the-art equipment and diagnostic tools alongside a friendly and caring staff. To learn more about the services offered at this practice, visit the website, or call (334) 793-9607 to schedule your appointment today.

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