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How does melanin affect the eyes?

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  • Your iris gets its color from a pigment called melanin. It's what makes them blue, green, brown, or hazel. Less melanin leads to lighter eye color. More melanin leads to darker eyes. Sometimes, the amount of pigment in your eyes can vary. For example: Complete heterochromia means one iris is a different color than the other. For example, you may have one blue eye and one brown eye.
  • Segmental heterochromia means different parts of one iris are different colors.

SOURCES:

CMAJ/JMAC Canadian Medical Association Journal : "Heterochromia."

National Institutes of Health, Genetic and Rare Diseases Center: "Heterochromia iridis," "Waardenburg syndrome," "Sturge-Weber Syndrome," "Progressive hemifacial atrophy," "Horner's Syndrome."

National Institutes of Health, Genetics Home Reference: "Is eye color determined by genetics?"

American Academy of Opthalmology: "Preventing Eye Injuries," "What is Ocular Melanoma?" "Heterochromia."   

"American Cancer Society: "Neuroblastoma," "Melanoma Skin Cancer."

Reviewed by Brian S. Boxer Wachler on December 13, 2018

SOURCES:

CMAJ/JMAC Canadian Medical Association Journal : "Heterochromia."

National Institutes of Health, Genetic and Rare Diseases Center: "Heterochromia iridis," "Waardenburg syndrome," "Sturge-Weber Syndrome," "Progressive hemifacial atrophy," "Horner's Syndrome."

National Institutes of Health, Genetics Home Reference: "Is eye color determined by genetics?"

American Academy of Opthalmology: "Preventing Eye Injuries," "What is Ocular Melanoma?" "Heterochromia."   

"American Cancer Society: "Neuroblastoma," "Melanoma Skin Cancer."

Reviewed by Brian S. Boxer Wachler on December 13, 2018

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What is acquired heterochromia?

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