Heterochromia Iridum in Alpharetta, GA
The color of your eyes is determined by the concentration and distribution of a pigment called melanin in the iris, the colored part of your eye. The more melanin you have, the darker your eyes will be, meaning that blue, gray and green eyes owe their lighter color to there being less melanin contained in the iris, while brown colored eyes indicate higher melanin content. Various factors, both genetic and acquired, can impact the color of your eyes. Heterochromia iridum, a group of related eye conditions causing abnormalities of the iris, may result spontaneously or congenitally.
Heterochromia is usually benign and therefore doesn't usually affect visual acuity; however, in some cases, it can be caused by a more serious health condition. In these cases, treatment will be necessary, and will focus on the underlying cause of the condition. To schedule an appointment with a qualified healthcare provider in Alpharetta that can examine your heterochromia iridum eyes and recommend appropriate treatment where needed, call (470) 220-4017 or contact Eye Associates of North Atlanta, LLC online.
Types of Heterochromia Iridum
There are three known types of heterochromia iridum:
Complete Heterochromia: The best known type of heterochromia iridum, complete heterochromia, occurs when the iris of one eye is of a completely different color than the iris of the other eye.
Central Heterochromia: Central heterochromia occurs when the iris is a different color near the border of the pupil (as compared with the color of the rest of the iris), typically forming a ring around the pupil.
Sectoral heterochromia: Also called partial heterochromia iridum, sectoral heterochromia iridum refers to cases of heterochromia in which only a portion (or sector) of the iris has a different color than the rest of the iris of its associated eye. A sectoral heterochromia typically presents as an irregular splotch of color, dissimilar to the dominant color of the eye, which does not form a complete ring around the pupil. This can occur in one or both eyes.
What Causes Heterochromia Iridum?
There are several potential causes of heterochromia iridum. In cases of congenital heterochromia, infants are born with benign congenital heterochromia, and can be the result of a genetic trait that is inherited, or as the result of a genetic mutation during embryonic development. In this case, further intervention is typically unnecessary but should still be evaluated by an eye care specialist.
More rarely, heterochromia may be a byproduct of a congenital health condition, such as:
- Waardenburg syndrome
- Sturge-Weber syndrome
- Congenital Horner's syndrome
- Parry-Romberg syndrome
- Hirschsprung disease
- Bloch-Sulzberger syndrome
- von Recklinghausen disease
- Bourneville disease
In other cases, heterochromia may develop more spontaneously in later life. Examples of factors causing acquired heterochromia include:
- Injury or trauma to the eye
- Melanoma of the eye
- Reaction to glaucoma medications such as Latanoprost or Bimatoprost
- A reaction to Latisse, a procedure for thickening one’s eyelashes
When the cause of an eye irregularity occurs later into adulthood and is unexplained, it is important to meet with a healthcare provider who can determine whether the cause of your eye discoloration is threatening to your overall health.
Heterochromia Iridum Treatment
While most cases of heterochromia are benign, it is recommended for you to consult a healthcare provider who can examine your eyes to ensure that other, more serious causes aren't at play. If your healthcare provider suspects that the cause of your heterochromia is an underlying health condition, a detailed eye exam, possibly followed by blood tests or chromosome studies, may be conducted to confirm a diagnosis. Treatment will vary by case and will focus on treating the underlying health condition. If desired for cosmetic purposes, your healthcare provider can provide tinted contact lenses to better balance the color between your irises.
To schedule an appointment with a qualified healthcare provider in Alpharetta that can examine your heterochromia iridum eyes and recommend appropriate treatment where needed, call (470) 220-4017 or contact Eye Associates of North Atlanta, LLC online.
Eye Associates of North Atlanta, LLC
Address5755 North Point Parkway
Alpharetta , GA 30022
8:30 am - 5:00 pm
Tue: 8:30 am - 5:00 pm
Wed: 8:30 am - 5:00 pm
Thu: 8:30 am - 5:00 pm
Fri: 8:30 am - 5:00 pm
We are located in the North Point Park office complex. There is one entrance off of North Point Parkway, and two entrances off of Rock Mill Road. The North Point Parkway entrance will provide the easiest access to our suite.