My Heterochromia Iridum Story
The first time I can remember being conscious or aware of my Heterorchromia, other
than looking in the mirror or from family members admiring me, was when I was in
Primary School. The other students and I were tasked with completing a worksheet
with a profile about ourselves which included height, weight, hair colour and of
course eye colour. The space that was provided for us to fill in our eye colour was
very small and as I have two distinctly different coloured eyes, I did not have enough
room to fill in my eye colour, as it only allowed for one. Some other students found
this funny and one in particular teased me for a time about it. It never bothered me
though. I cherished being unique and as I was born with different coloured eyes, one
brown (with blue/grey speck) and the other blue/grey, I never knew any different. To
me, my eyes were normal.
My reasoning for calling one of my eyes blue/grey as opposed to blue, is because as
I grew older, many friendly arguments would arise over what colour my eyes were.
The blue eye is not bright blue, like those many fair haired people have. Some called
it grey, others green but all were resolved that it is most definitely different than the other eye.
Over the years, I have had the usual questions that I assume all people with
Heterochromia have been asked. “Do you know your eyes are different colours?”,
“Did you loose a contact lens?”, “What colour eyes do your parents have?”. Many
are surprised that I was born this way, that I do not wear contact lenses and that my
parents have distinctly blue eyes (Mother) and green eyes (Father).
I often enjoyed my eyes being compared to celebrity Heterochromia examples, such
as Jane Seymour and David Bowie (who I later found out was not Heterochromia).
However, I did not relish being compared to Husky dogs or Marlyn Manson. I was
often used as an example in Biology class for genetics, but as Professor X in
‘X-Men: First Class’ says, most people believed it to be “a very groovy mutation”.
Friends, colleagues and partners have expressed jealousy over how “cool” my eyes
look, the irony being that the person who I am now marrying, is totally colour blind
and cannot see any difference between my eyes. I have met many people over the
years who have various forms of Heterochromia and no longer believe it to be as
rare as I once believed, but maybe I just notice it more in other people because I
have it? When I travel I seem to get more attention for my eyes than at home in
Ireland, which leads me to believe that it maybe more common in certain countries
and therefore more rare in others.
Once while on holiday in Italy I noticed a group of waiters in a restaurant looking at
me and whispering to each other. Eventually one of the waiters approached me and
asked if he could have his photo taken with me. I replied that I was not famous and
he said it wasn’t because I was famous, but because of my eyes. Another funny
incident happened at a bar in Austria where a drunken man broke down in tears after
meeting me, saying that he had always wanted a girlfriend with different colour eyes
but had never met one. Finally, whilst travelling in Australia last year I met a German
backpacker who told me how lucky I was to have Heterochromia, as she explained
that there apparently is a scholarship programme , funded by David Bowie himself for
people with this condition. I have never been able to back her statement up, but she
was very dissapointed that she had never been able to apply.