Being born with heterochromia—eyes of two different colors—is exceedingly rare (just ask celebrities with the trait, such as Kate Bosworth and Jane Seymour). But irises can change color when injured or infected, as was the case with Dr. Ian Crozier, the medical aid worker who survived Ebola.

Months after Dr. Crozier thought he had beat the virus, one of his blue eyes turned green. This change alerted doctors to the fact that live virus was still lurking in his eye, and after a series of successful treatments, the iris returned to its original color.

Doctors were initially baffled with change of Crozier’s eye color and unsure of the reason for it. “I’m thinking it’s a consequence of the viral infection itself, that has caused a transformation in the metabolism of the iris cells that is uniform everywhere,” said Dr. C. Stephen Foster, a clinical professor of ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, to the New York Times.

Dr. Foster, also the chief executive officer of the Massachusetts Eye Research and Surgery Institution, suggests the Ebola virus may have damaged his iris, leading to the change of his eye color to green but reverted back to blue when the cells recovered.

Do you believe that eyes are not only the windows to our souls, but to our bodies as well? Sound off in comments below.



The New York Times: The Mystery Behind an Eye That Changed Color