Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Heterochromia Iridis


What do I have in common with Dan Akroyd, Kate Bosworth, Jane Seymour and Alexander the Great? Heterochromia. When a person has two different coloured eyes this is Heterochromia Iridium and when there are a variety of colours within one iris (me, above) then this is Heterochromia Iridis. The "character" in the creative non-fiction piece I'm writing has the latter distinction, hmmm, just like me. Scrolling around the web here and there, I've found interesting lists of famous people with heterochromia. (Once you start using the word it's a bit addictive...) There are also places (flickr) where you can upload photos of your eyes, groups that you can subscribe to, and groups that you could subscribe to but only if you have Heterochromia Iridium, and not Heterochromia Iridis. Heterochromia has even inspired "eye-catching palettes." Then again, the Nazis and Mengele conducted experiments and exterminated people, including children, with Heterochromia.

As a kid, I remember when people did notice, which they often didn't, they'd ask daft questions. The most common being, did you know your eyes don't match? Uhhh, yah. Then, are you a witch, or a cat? Yes, I would say, I'm both a witch and a cat. And then, do you see things differently, in different colours? Sure, I do.... I haven't run into too many people who don't think it's kind of neat. As an adult, I get this question a lot: what do you put on your driver's license as your eye colour?

What I'd like to do is start a list of literary characters with Heterochromia. More research is needed on that one - I haven't found a handy index anywhere yet. I'll keep looking. The only one that comes immediately to mind is the woman in the painting in Richler's Solomon Gursky was Here. (But don't quote me on that - it's been a long time since I've read it and I don't have a copy on hand). I know there must be many more.....and there must be authors too. Know any? Feel free to leave a note in the comments.