A mother and son are captivating social media because of their stunning multi-colored eyes that are both blue and black.
Elizabeth Tyler, 35, and her one-year-old son Liam Mexus have heterochromia iridum, a congenital condition that causes them both to have two different eye colors within one iris.
However, while they both have the same condition, it has affected them differently; while Elizabeth, a business owner and influencer from Ohio, has striking deep blue and brown-black eyes, Liam has one blue eye while his second eye has a tinge of both blue and black color.
Rare: Ohio mom Elizabeth Tyler and her son Liam Mexus have earned a huge fan club on social media thanks to their incredible eyes, which are swirled with two colors
Unique: Elizabeth, 35, and her one-year-old son both have a condition called heterochromia iridum, which causes the iris to form two different colors. In their case, blue and black-brown
Striking: The condition, which does not typically cause any major medical issues, has left adorable Liam with one bright blue eye, and one blue-and-black-brown eye
While the condition itself is rare – affecting less than 200,000 people in the US – it is even more uncommon for it to be passed down through generations. However Elizabeth and her son are not the only members of their family with heterochromia iridum – both her father and siblings were also born with the rare condition.
According to medical experts, the condition does not cause any negative affects, particularly if a person is born with it, however it may be an indication that the person has another condition, such as piebaldism, which causes a lack of pigment in the hair or skin.
Heterochromia iridum is more commonly found in animals, particularly white dogs and cats.
However, Elizabeth loves the fact that her rare condition makes her and her son stand out from the crowd, explaining that she wants to use her unique eyes to show others that it is ‘okay to be different’.
‘I love my eyes because they are unique. It’s okay to be different,’ Elizabeth said.
Special: It is incredibly rare for the condition to be passed down within a family, with many experts agreeing that heterochromia iridum typically occurs sporadically
Eye can’t believe it! Both of Elizabeth’s irises are different colors, while her son has one blue eye, and one eye that appears to be swirled with blue and black
Trait: Elizabeth says that her father and siblings were also born with the rare condition
Elizabeth is often asked about her condition by curious followers as she posts pictures of herself and her children.
While a lot of people call her gorgeous, she also politely imparts knowledge about the condition that could be both genetic and acquired.
She said: ‘I was often bullied while growing up and they were a normal part of my life but the response from others brought more attention to them.
‘My eyes were a common topic of interest when people who were not used to seeing them. But now, (using social media platform), I feel blessed to be able to inspire others who have the same condition and may be uncomfortable with it.’
Elizabeth has five children, but only Liam has inherited her condition – however that doesn’t mean that their eyes look identical.
Both of the influencer’s irises are different colors, while her son has one bright blue eye, and then one that has both blue and black in it.
‘My son also has heterochromia iridum,’ she explained. ‘[But his eyes] are different than mine. He has one blue eye and the other in mostly brown with two blue sections.’
What is heterochromia iridum and what causes it?
Heterochromia iridum is a form of heterochromia, a genetic condition that causes a person to have differently colored eyes, or eyes that have more than one color.
The condition is rare in humans, affecting fewer than 200,000 people in the US, however it is much more common in animals, including dogs and cats.
Heterochromia iridum – also known as segmental heterochromia – means that different parts of one iris are different colors, like blue and black. This is caused by an uneven distribution of melanin, a pigment which determines the color of the eyes.
Brown eyes tend to be rich in melanin, while blue eyes indicate a lack of the pigment; in cases where the irises have different colors within them, it indicates that the melanin has not been distributed evenly.
Typically, the condition does not cause any medical issues, nor does it often affect a person’s sight. Instead it is seen more as a genetic quirk. However heterochromia can also be a symptom of another condition, including piebaldism and Hirschsprung disease.
Those who are born with different colored eyes have a congenital form of heterochromia, which can also develop later in life as a result of different conditions like eye cancer, injury, and glaucoma.
People who share the condition with a parent or grandparent are much more rare, with medical experts noting that the condition is much more likely to occur sporadically, rather than being passed down within a family.