If you carefully take a look at your eyes in a mirror, you might notice that one of your pupils is significantly bigger than the other. If that is the case, corrective eye surgery specialists claim you might have anisocoria. 


What’s Anisocoria? 

Anisocoria is a medical condition that causes a person’s pupil in one eye to be different in size than the other. Just to be clear, the pupils are the black circles located in the center of the eyes. Most of the time, pupils are the same size. 

Corrective eye surgery specialists agree that anisocoria can be brought on by many factors. For instance, you can be born with it or develop it later in life. It is possible to experience anisocoria either on a permanent basis or just temporarily. There is the possibility that while the doctor is examining your eyes, he or she diagnoses an underlying medical condition or another cause for anisocoria. 

What Causes Anisocoria? 

Most of the time, mild anisocoria is normal and there isn’t any hidden illness or history of trauma that has brought it on. In most cases, these instances of anisocoria where one pupil is bigger than the other by less than 1.0 mm with no probable cause are referred to as simple anisocoria, benign anisocoria or physiologic anisocoria. 

Researchers conducted a study on anisocoria in which they photographed 128 normal participants in dim light for five consecutive days. Photographs were taken daily in the morning and afternoon. 

Around 52 of the participants (42 percent) had an anisocoria of 0.4 mm or more a few times during the five days the study was conducted.  About 19 percent of the study’s participants showed evidence of mild anisocoria. 

Anisocoria did not alternate in response to the time of day or from one day to the next. Also, it was not affected by the gender, age, or eye color of the participant. 

Other studies revealed that around 20 percent of the population has mild benign anisocoria. 

On the other hand, critical anisocoria has several causes, several of which are medical issues. Some reasons for significant anisocoria include the following: 

  • Eye trauma. Getting punched in the eye. (e.g. David Bowie)
  • Some eye medications such as pilocarpine eye drops which are used to treat glaucoma can make the pupil of the treated eye smaller than the other pupil.
  • An inflamed iris. Iritis (anterior uveitis) can result in anisocoria that is usually followed by severe eye pain.
  • Adie’s tonic pupil. It is a benign condition that is also known as Adie’s pupil, tonic pupil, or Adie’s syndrome and usually causes one pupil to be significantly bigger than the other. The pupil that has this condition does not react to light. In many cases, the reason for Adie’s pupil is a mystery. However, it can be linked to eye trauma such as trauma from complicated corrective eye surgery, lack of blood flow (ischemia) or infection. 
  • Neurological disorders. Several conditions that cause damage to the nerves in the brain or spinal cord can result in anisocoria. One of the most common is Horner’s syndrome. Individuals who suffer from nervous system disorders that end up with anisocoria usually have a drooping eyelid, double vision and/or crossed eyes. 
  • Brain disorders that are connected with anisocoria are strokes, hemorrhage (impromptu or because of head injury) and, very rare, some tumors or infections. 

What’s Horner’s Syndrome?

Horner’s syndrome is a combination of signs and symptoms that are a result of a disrupted nerve path that starts at the brain and travels to the face and eyes on one side of the body. Common signs and symptoms that a person is affected by Horner’s Syndrome are the following:  

  • A regularly small pupil (miosis)
  • A massive difference in the pupil size between the two eyes
  • Very little or lag when the affected pupil opens (dilates) in dim light
  • Upper eyelid droops (ptosis)
  • The eye has sunken appearance
  • Lower lid lifts, sometimes known as upside-down ptosis

Normally, pupils can dilate within five seconds when the lights in a room are dimmed. A pupil infected with Horner’s syndrome usually takes 10 to 20 seconds to dilate in dim lighting or a darkened room. 

Horner’s syndrome is usually brought about by an underlying medical issue, for example, a stroke, tumor, or spinal cord injury. However, corrective eye surgery specialists have seen some instances in which no cause can be found. 

There is no particular treatment for Horner’s syndrome. However, if there is a link to an identified medical problem, treatment of that issue might be the solution for symptoms of Horner’s syndrome including anisocoria.  

So, What About David Bowie’s Eyes?

David Bowie was an amazing singer, songwriter, and producer. Although he is famous for his music, he is also known for having particularly unique eyes. For those unfamiliar with David Bowie, he had two different colored eyes!

Many people think he had two completely different eye colors, which is a condition known as heterochromia. This is a misconception, the real reason for David Bowie’s fascinating eyes was due to anisocoria. David Bowie was born with blue eyes, but he was involved in a fight leaving one of his eyes permanently dilated. This gave the injured eye a much darker appearance. 

While some wouldn’t mind looking like David Bowie, if you feel your pupils are inconsistent in size or if your symptoms persist and worsen it is best to seek medical attention immediately.  If you need professional and caring corrective eye surgery advice, call Excel Laser Vision Institute at +1-866-923-9235 today.