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Plainly speaking, people are generally familiar with the external structure of the human eye: a white sphere with a colored ring and a dark hole in the center. Of course, there’s more to the eye than that, but that’s basically what you see on the surface level. One telltale sign of a serious condition, which you can see by looking in a mirror, is if the surface of your eye is yellow instead of white.

Check out these facts about yellow eyes and what you should do about them:

ARE YELLOW EYES A SERIOUS CONDITION?

Yellow eyes, known as icterus — the term ‘jaundice’ is only correct if the skin is yellow as well — are commonly the symptom of a liver condition. It’s possible your eyes may be yellow due to some mild hemorrhaging of your eyes’ blood vessels, but it’s a safe decision to visit your eye doctor or any medical professional if your eyes are yellow.

HOW ARE MY EYES LINKED TO MY LIVER?

When your liver breaks down old red blood cells, it produces a substance called bilirubin, which is processed out of the body in your stool. If your liver begins to process too many red blood cells it will produce too much bilirubin — a condition known as hyperbilirubinemia — and disperse throughout your body because it doesn’t produce the amount of stool necessary for such high amounts of bilirubin.

The quantities of bilirubin spread throughout your body can be observed by their yellowish-brown color on the skin, in the eyes, or both. So, your eyes aren’t directly linked to your liver, but can suffer the consequences of hyperbilirubinemia since the bilirubin has nowhere else to go.

WHAT OTHER CONDITIONS CAN TURN MY EYES YELLOW?

  • Leptospirosis — A rare bacterial infection that can cause a drastic yellowing of the eyes.
  • Sickle-cell Anemia — A disease leading to misshapen blood cells from lack of oxygen.
  • Hepatitis — An inflammation of the liver that can cause serious problems to develop.
  • Cirrhosis — A buildup of scar tissue in the liver, blocking its ability to function.

CAN I PREVENT MY EYES FROM TURNING YELLOW?

Many liver conditions can be prevented by taking care of yourself, therefore helping prevent your eyes from turning yellow as a symptom. Drinking too much alcohol or abusing drugs can wreak havoc on your liver. Other conditions could be caused by factors such as bacteria or genetics, which can be hard to prevent, but is treatable.

Usually, after treatments, your eyes will return to their normal color.

Are your eyes turning yellow, or are you experiencing other strange symptoms you are concerned about? Contact Silverstein Eye Care Centers today at (816) 358-3600 or request your appointment online. We can serve you at our convenient location in Independence/Kansas City.

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One Response to “WHAT MAKES EYES TURN YELLOW?”
  1. Joanne says:

    Can a teen with sickle cell, have this procedure to whiten their yellow scleral

    Thank you

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