“At the centre of it all, your eyes, your eyes …”

This cryptic lyric is a reminder that David Bowie’s unusual eyes were always a key part of his unique persona.

The condition – complete heterochromia – which is pretty rare in humans, is when each iris is a noticeably different colour – such as one being blue, and the other being brown.

But… Bowie did not have complete heterochromia!

It turns out Bowie’s unusual eyes were due to another condition known as anisocoria. This condition is characterised by unequal pupil sizes. Bowie’s left pupil was permanently dilated, creating the illusion of a darker iris.

The cause of Bowie’s anisocoria is said to have come from a schoolyard fight in 1962, with his friend George Underwood, over a girl they were both interested in.

A silly punch that accidentally scratched Bowie’s eyeball, resulted in the paralysis of the muscles that contract the iris. From that day, Bowie’s left pupil remained in a fixed open position.


Over time, it has been said that Bowie thanked his friend for his notorious eye injury, telling him that it gave him “a kind of mystique”. This mystique helped fuel some of Bowie’s greatest creations and enhance iconic images, such as the album cover for Heroes.

Source: IFL Source

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