Waardenburg syndrome is a rare genetic disorder most often characterized by varying degrees of deafness, minor defects in structures arising from the neural crest, and pigmentation changes. It was first described in 1951. The syndrome was later found to have four types. For example, type II was identified in 1971, to describe cases where dystopia canthorum was not present. Some types are now split into subtypes, based upon the gene responsible for the condition. Waardenburg syndrome is a group of genetic conditions. It can cause hearing loss and changes in color (pigmentation) of the hair, skin, and eyes. The worldwide incidence is estimated at around 1 in 40,000 people.
Meet five people whose blue eyes are the result of Waardenburg Syndrome.
The most famous person on our list, Paris Jackson, 19, is the daughter of Michael Jackson and a model in her own right—her cold, almost transparent blue eyes are one of her most notable features. During an interview with Teen Vogue, her makeup artist, Jo Baker, revealed that Paris' baby blues are the result of a genetic condition. While she didn't name the disorder outright, it is believed to be Waardenburg syndrome.
In case you were wondering, it doesn’t impact Paris' sight whatsoever, and she doesn't appear to have any other symptoms. Jo said of her stunning peepers, "They’re absolutely striking. Her eyes are always something I’m keen to draw attention to."
This eight-year-old Ethiopian boy, Abushe, from Jinka, has been mesmerizing people with his shocking blue eyes. He has Waardenburg syndrome. His parents used to fear that he was blind as a child. Since they were extremely poor, medical treatment for their son was never a possibility. He is not blind and seems to suffer from no other symptoms. His parents now see his differences as a gift from God. The boy often gets bullied due to his unusual looks but hopes to push past all that and become a successful footballer.
Ketlen Silva de Jesus, 11, has been making waves on social media after announcing she had Waardenburg syndrome on Brazilian television.
Her mom thought that they had swapped her child with somebody else's at the hospital when she first saw her daughter, who was born completely deaf with sapphire blue eyes.
21-year-old Canadian blogger Stef Sanjati revealed she has Waardenburg syndrome—and went viral.
The trans woman had been vlogging on YouTube for almost a decade, but it was one particular video that catapulted her number of viewers into the millions. The video, titled "My Face: Waardenburg Syndrome," is Sanjati’s explainer vlog about the genetic mutation she inherited. Sanjati has the same piercing blue eyes as many with the syndrome do. She is also deaf in her left ear and is partially prematurely gray.
Sanjati underwent facial feminization surgery in Boston, Mass. in December 2017, and has documented every bruise, bandage, and scar on her YouTube channel. The procedures helped reshape her face to reverse the effects of testosterone-based puberty. "For a long time, I couldn’t look in the mirror, and that wasn’t because of being trans, it was because of my face and kids making fun of me,” she said.
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