One of the ancient world’s most powerful men, Alexander the Great, had two different eye colors. For a lot of people reading this right now, this might come as a bit of a surprise. Eyes are supposed to match, and different colors just isn’t possible, or is it? Well, it is, and it is a little more common than you might think.
The condition that Alexander the Great had that gave him two different colored eyes is called heterochromia iridum. While it’s actually not all that common in humans, several household names have this condition. Kate Bosworth, Mila Kunis, Henry Cavill, Kiefer Sutherland and Wentworth Miller. But celebrities who have eye conditions isn’t all that uncommon. Even one of the biggest name actors in the entertainment industry today is blind in one eye. Although it is rare and does occur occasionally, it’s a condition that can be observed in many animals, most notably in many pets. Dogs such as the Australian Shepherd, Siberian Husky, and Catahoula Leopard Dog exhibit among the highest rates of this condition in the canine family. Cats too can be born with heterochromia iridum. The most common breeds that have this condition are Turkish Van, Japanese Bobtail, Sphynx, and the Turkish Angora. Cats born with odd eyes were so popular in 1917 in Turkey that the government established a program to breed cats that would result in this weird condition. So what precisely causes it?
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The different eye color that Alexander the Great had, and that of people like Mila Kunis is caused by a shortage or excess of pigmentation in the iris of one of the eyes. This lack, or excess gives a different color in the affected eye. But what is even weirder with this condition is that it can also affect just one part of an eye. So an individual may appear to have part or half of the iris with a different color.