National Different Colored Eyes Day

National Different Colored Eyes Day

William Shakespeare once said, “The eyes are the window into the soul.”  Well someone with two different colored eyes must point to a pretty unique individual!  Today, July 12th, we celebrate those individuals with multi-colored eyes, whether they have just a splash of color or two completely different colored eyes.  Did you know that not only people but pets can also have two different colored eyes?


Why Do Some Individuals Have Different Colored Eyes?

National Different Colored Eyes DayA person or pet having two different colored eyes is very rare and can be caused by several factors.  The color of the eyes develops during the first few months after birth, and the levels of the pigment melanin will determine how dark the eyes will be.  The more melanin, the darker the eyes will be, and the less melanin, the lighter the color of the eyes will look.

National Different Colored Eyes DayOccasionally, the amount of melanin is not the same in both eyes, causing a condition called heterochromia.  Two completely different eye colors such as one green eye and one brown eye are known as complete heterochromia.  Central heterochromia is when the eyes have multiple colors, such as a blue iris with a brown ring around the pupil, and the partial or sectoral heterochromia is when one iris has a splash of color that is different from the rest of the same iris.  If one is not born with the condition, a sudden onset of heterochromia could be the sign of an underlying medical condition or injury, and an eye exam should be performed.


Certain Animal Breeds are More Susceptible

National Different Colored Eyes DayAccording to The Dodo, the more variation in an animal’s coat pattern, the more likely a cat or dog is to have different-colored eyes.  Two different colored eyes are rarer in breeds such as Labradors and Poodles, and more common in breeds that have the “merle gene.  Merle, also known as dapple, is the swirly pattern that has splashes of dark pigment that is overlaid on top of a lighter shade of the same color.  It is also more common in dog breeds such as Australian cattle dogs and shepherds, collies, and Dalmatians.  In cats, the eye trait is more commonly found in breeds such as Siamese, Burmese, and Persian.  Cats with heterochromia are often referred to as an “odd-eyed cat.”

Heterochromia can make dogs and cats more sensitive to light.  Without the protection of pigmented melanin, light is blocked less from the retina, even when the pupil is constricted.  When more light reaches the retina at the back of the eye, it can be very painful.


Venus the Cat

National Different Colored Eyes DaySpeaking of animals with heterochromia, Venus is a very unique cat with over 1.8 million followers on Instagram.  The tortoiseshell feline has one green eye and one blue, complementing her half orange, half blackface.  It is not exactly known how or why Venus has two different colored eyes and two different colored sides of her face, but perhaps both the black and orange coloration on her face were randomly activated on both sides and met in the middle as she developed.  Read more about Venus and follow her journey on Instagram at venustwofacecat!


5 Famous People with Two Different Colored Eyes

Think you’ve never seen someone with two different eye colors?  Think again!  Below are five famous people that have some form of heterochromia:

  1. Mila Kunis- Actress
  2. Kate Bosworth- Actress
  3. Max Scherzer- Washington Nationals’ Baseball Pitcher
  4. Dominic Sherwood- Actor
  5. Tim McIlrath- Lead Singer of the band Rise Against


Thankfully, heterochromia is usually nothing to be concerned about and the condition is a unique and beautiful characteristic to be celebrated!  Do have a pet with two different colored eyes?  Share a photo of your pet’s eyes with us