Eyes changing color/multicolored eyes

I was reading an old column describing the occurances on heterochromia and hypo/hyperchromia. I have a pair unusual samples that seem to provide even more peculiar and unexplained info. Now Cecil basically responded to the question by defining the described conditions and saying very little is know about how and why they change. Please tackle this question.

  1. My mother seems to fall into a different catagory that i’d like to hear explained. She has green eyes accept her left eye is half brown. The left eye is bisected exactly through the center at about a 10 degree angle off horizontal. This seems to defy all the example Cece explained and is really strange looking. How can this occur and why is it so clearly defined. FYI none of her sisters and parents have this, and she recalls no trauma.

  2. My eyes change color both ways. I was born with hazel eyes, but in the last 6 years or so they have been quite inconsistant. They change actively and can be anywhere from blue to dark green. I can find no rhyme or reason. My ex-girlfriend calls them mood eyes. Its like they change to match my clothes although this is not likely. I wonder if they change to reflect my surroundings or what. Is it possible that the causes of hypo/hyperchromia can flip flop or are they exclusively progressive and permanent? what cn you make of this one? I am adopted so there is no correlation between my and my mothers conditions.

The facts expressed here belong to everybody, the opinions to me. The distinction is
yours to draw…

Omniscient; BAG

My husband claims my eyes do the same thing: from dark green to hazel to grey to brown. I’m more inclined to think that the color “variation” has to do with what I’m wearing, the ambient light at the time, etc. Nice that he notices though. This is a long shot, but could hormonal fluctuations have anything to do with “changing eye color”? To be perfectly honest, I’m not clear on why or how eyes are colored as they are (other than the gene thing).

Carpe Diem! or at least seize something!

I was born with eyes that were a deep blue color, even though both my parents’ eyes were brown. Now my eyes are green. I remember reading somewhere, though, that this is a common occurrence with green eyes- apparently the alleles for them are subject to different rates of gene expression during the lifetime of an individual. Green eyes have ways of skipping one or more generations as well.
Good examples of Mendelian genetics seem to be about as uncommon in the real world as regular verbs are in German. The simple scenario of dominant/recessive alleles is only rarely unaffected by complicating factors such as mixed dominance, multiple loci, crossovers, etc. Eye color is a common textbook example of Mendelian genetics at work in humans, but even this is fraught with so many exceptions and special situations that it rarely works out the nice way that it is supposed to in theory. I’m sometimes amazed that Mendel didn’t get confused and just give up.

Greetings all. This is my first post here, so be nice. heh heh

I tend to aggree w/ BunnyGirl. My eyes were a dark brown when I was born, but have since gone through being hazel and green. Right now, they’re usually a dark hazel, since I wear dark colours almost exclusively. They’re hazel when I don’t wear dark colours, and stay green for a helluva long time after I’ve been out in the sun.

I can’t think of any explanation as to Omnisicent’s mother - shouldn’t he know? He knows all! :slight_smile: . But that light/ambience theory seems to be in universla effect.

"Study demonology with an enemy this Sunday.

I have deep drown eyes, almost black, but when I cry, they turn a very pretty green. That can’t be explained by genetics, can it?

My mother has eyes similar to Omni’s mom’s. The main difference is that both of her eyes are that way (green and brown, too!)

I think I got a bit of the weird eyes from her. Mine are green around the outside but brown around the inside. The ratios of green to brown vary depending on the light and surroundings. The green is pretty dark, like an olive color. Due to this and the fact that I wore eye-distorting glasses, I didn’t notice my eyes weren’t just “brown” until I was in college.

Lissa, is it really a good idea to tell everybody that it’s WORTH IT making you cry?

<html>Lissa</html> - I think the answer to your dilemma is that when you cry, the liquid (i.e. your tears) changes the refractive index of your eye surface, that’s what makes them a lighter colour (and maybe your tears reflect more of green than any other - haha). My theory, anyway!

The eyes’ colour changing as people grow also has something to do with the refractive index changing… why, I do not remember - somebody lend me a Physics book!!!

Never bite the hand that… looks dirty!

<html>Lissa</html> - I think the answer to your dilemma is that when you cry, the liquid (i.e. your tears) changes the refractive index of your eye surface, that’s what makes them a lighter colour (and maybe your tears reflect more of green than any other - haha). My theory, anyway!

The eyes’ colour changing as people grow also has something to do with the refractive index changing… why it changes, I do not remember - somebody lend me a Physics book!!!

Never bite the hand that… looks dirty!

This is going to sound insulting, but it’s not meant that way. Really, it’s just about Omni’s mother. I don’t know for sure, but I used to have a horse with the same eye phenomena.

He was a medicine hat pinto, and his eyes were what is called “glass”, or watch eyes. They were blue around the pupil, and white around the iris. Just like Paul Newman. The only exception to this was one area, near a brown spot by one eye, that was brown: but only from the outlines of the brown spot near his eye to the pupil. The rest of that eye was blue.

My bet is that some other pigment source near the one eye expressed itself near enough that one eye to allow the brown portion of the green eye.

By the way, this was my big nightmare before my genetics final: I had to give an oral presentation, showing the eye colors of each member of my family, on all sides, back to my great grandparents’ generation and explain how that resulted in my green eyes. I couldn’t do it, and the examiners held me down and turned my eyes blue (or brown, I don’t remember). It was horrible at the time, but that was a tough semester!


Oh, and my green eyes look either green in most light, or dead grey, like cement, if I’m tired or wearing black, white or grey clothing. I think it’s partly the clothes (since I used to have an apple green dress that would make my eyes look just the same color), and partly the light. It’s all just refraction…

Excuse me if I’m wrong, but this is as far as I can recall…
Regarding an eye being differnt colours in different spots:
The curvature of the eye determines the refractive index of the eye surface, which in turn should determine the colour - so, concluding from this:
An uneven curvature can cause different colours in different places…
Hope that’s right…

Never bite the hand that… looks dirty!

I used to have a girlfriend with mood eyes. It was very wierd the first time I noticed, then I found myself fixating on her eyes. The color changes were dramatic and fairly rapid. Her eyes could go from brown to blue in just a few minutes. She also had this peculiar goldenrod color that I’ve never seen anywhere else in a human eye - but have seen in cats.

I had another girlfriend who had the most unusual color of blue eyes. It was almost neon… very pretty, but there was something else about her eyes that was even more striking… when the sun shone on them directly they had this eerie red/orange glow. Sort of like the red eye effect you see with cameras. I noticed this frequently with her (as did other friends), but I’ve never seen it with anyone else, so there must have been something peculiar about the refractive properties of her eyes.

As a child, I had china-blue eyes. Now, people comment on my green eyes. They are not actually green, but over the years I have developed yellow lines that radiate out from the pupil and the combination of blue & yellow looks green. My father went through the same phenomenom and at age 67, his eyes look seafoam green. Very little of the blue shows any more. Something to look forward to, I guess.

About the radial color lines, I used to work in a contact lens clinic, and sometimes would have an opportunity to check out the fit of the lenses using a special machine which basically magnified the eye itself. This was more than 20 years ago now, so it’s probably outdated, but it was fascinating at the time. Everyone has the radial lines of different colors, I think they’re related to the muscles that dilate and contract the pupil. Some people have similar colors, but others have very different colors in those lines.

The other phenomenon which I find fascinating is the darker outer edge of the iris, with a much much paler inner edge. My mother has this in spades! Right around the pupil, her eyes are almost white, the grey is so very pale. On the outer edge, though, her iris is absolutely black! Overall, her eyes are a lovely shade of grey. Looking closely, though, they’re like a sand painting or something. Just beautiful.

Eyes are the window to the soul, of course…

Jane Symore (actress) has two different colored eyes. One is brown, the other green.

I was at a restaurant counter and met a girl with the most heinous “black” eye I’ve ever seen. She also had one blue eye and one green (the green one was the injured one). She said her doctor told her that her head trauma caused the color change, and that it was most likely permanent. I don’t know what the exact process was, but I wouldn’t recommend it… she looked so bad. But her eyes were cool!

Smile when you say that…

I have know several people with unusual eyes. I knew a girl with one brown eye and one green eye (which turned yellow sometimes due to some pigment problem she had which also affected her skin). I knew a very temperamental person who had the most amazing blue eyes, they were like a very unnatural color of deep blue, like in Siamese cats, but she was really overly sensitive about it (she got mad and refused to discuss it with anyone who commented on it, leading the paranoid among us to wildly and probably inaccurately speculate their meaning).

But the “oddest” I have studied is my wife’s eyes, which have been passed on to our son. They are brown/green, but only the inner part of the iris is green. This means that in bright light, their (dilated) eyes are brown, but in dim light (non-dialated) they look green. Only in normal light can you see the two colors.

Nowadays, you can get color contacts. A punk friend of mine found yellow and red contacts from a theatrical catalog, and loved to wander public places with these. He said having yellow eyes makes people react strangely, yet when asked what was wrong, they always explained “something about his face… I can’t quite place it.” Red eyes were noticed right away, usually as a “did your eyes get injured?” sort of comment or question.

We think that Damion would probably have been referred to an optician these days. :slight_smile:

But I wonder how people fare with blue eyes vs. say, brown or green? Disadvantages/advantages? Do blue eyes have more fun?

My experience with the eye-color thing is as such: I have dark blue eyes, most of the time. When I’m in a lot of pain, or very hungry, they become pale blue. The hunger thing would suggest there’s a blood-sugar relationship; it doesn’t account for pain though, except when I have headaches from not eating.

There’s got to be some complex hormonal and/or chemical relationship with eye color. Too many of us have experienced eye color changes for too many different reasons. I smell a sequel to Cecil’s original coverage on this topic … Whaddaya say, O Straightest of Dopes? ;->

Anaemie said:

Lissa - I think the answer to your dilemma is that when you cry, the liquid (i.e. your
tears) changes the refractive index of your eye surface, that’s what makes them a
lighter colour (and maybe your tears reflect more of green than any other - haha). My
theory, anyway!

I say:
I don’t think that is (nessacarly) the case. My wife has the same sort of thing. Her eyes lighten from a light brown to a pale green when she is upset, crying or not.


I grew up with hazel eyes–this must be true because my mother said so. I guess they sorta turned blue as I aged. When I joined the army and was asked what color my eyes were, I said they were hazel only to be looked at with a kind of scorn usually reserved for sissies from he-men. Is hazel not a valid color for eyes in the military? The bastard wrote brown!! Once I was refused service at a liquor store because the clerk said that my eyes were blue, not hazel. Now when people say my eyes are blue–not hazel, I say 'ok they’re fucking blue–today.