When musician David Bowie passed away in 2016, there were many articles about him that were accompanied by photos. People began to comment on his differently colored eyes, a condition called heterochromia, when actually Bowie had another condition altogether — a condition known as anisocoria.
What is Anisocoria?
Anisocoria is a condition in which a person’s eyes have different sized pupils.
In Bowie’s case, it was actually the result of a fight with a classmate. Bowie was punched in his left eye. His friend’s fingernail scratched the surface of Bowie’s eye paralyzing the muscles that contract the iris.
Bowie’s eyes were blue. But because the pupil in his left eye was so large, it appeared black and made it look as though his eyes were different colors.
Other causes of anisocoria include but are not limited to:
- a nervous system problem
- risk of stroke
- viral infection
What if You Have Unexplained Anisocoria?
If you or someone you know has a new onset or an unexplained occurrence of anisocoria, it will require a visit to your eye doctor for proper diagnosis. As noted above, it could be related to another more serious medical condition.
I understand the Bowie was not apparently, born with heterochromia; However, if you take the colour of the outer parts of both of his irises, the colours do not match. The right, normal eye was a much brighter blue than the hazel/grey of the left. Maybe this shade variation is not obvious to those who can see less of the colour spectrum, but it is very obvious to many.
Taking colour samples on multiple photos backs this up.
I wonder if Bowie actually had heterochromia prior to the injury which caused the anisocoria, or if the colour change was a result of the injury?
My guess is that he was under glaucoma medication (hypotenseur) to lower the intra-ocular pression and hinder the risk of forming a glaucoma. This medication is known to alter iris colour.