What was with David Bowie’s eyes?

Answered by James Kissner

David Bowie’s eyes were a subject of fascination for many, and for good reason. The difference in his eye appearance was not due to two different colors, as commonly believed, but rather a condition called anisocoria. Anisocoria is a condition where the pupils of the eyes are different sizes.

It is important to clarify that anisocoria is not as uncommon as one might think. In fact, it can occur in about 20% of the population, and can be present from birth or develop later in life. Anisocoria can be caused by various factors, including genetics, eye injuries, certain medications, nerve damage, or even underlying medical conditions.

In the case of David Bowie, his anisocoria was a result of an injury he sustained during his younger years. Legend has it that he got into a fight with a friend over a girl, and his left pupil became permanently dilated as a result of being punched in the eye. This injury led to his iconic mismatched eye appearance, where his left pupil appeared significantly larger than his right.

While anisocoria itself may not have affected Bowie’s vision or overall eye health, it certainly became a distinctive feature of his appearance. It added to his enigmatic persona and contributed to his unique and ever-changing image throughout his career.

Interestingly, anisocoria can sometimes be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. For example, it can be associated with Horner’s syndrome, a condition affecting the nerves that control the eye muscles and facial muscles. However, there is no evidence to suggest that Bowie had any underlying medical conditions related to his anisocoria.

It is worth noting that anisocoria can also be temporary and benign. For instance, changes in lighting, medications, or even fatigue can cause temporary differences in pupil size. However, in Bowie’s case, his anisocoria was a permanent and defining characteristic.

David Bowie’s unique eye appearance was due to a condition called anisocoria, where his pupils were different sizes. This condition, resulting from an injury he sustained in his youth, became an integral part of his iconic image. While anisocoria is not uncommon, Bowie’s mismatched eyes added to his enigmatic persona, making him even more memorable as an artist.