yellow eyes

Warning Signs? Why Are My Eyes Yellow? Jaundice or Something Else?

If you suspect that jaundice is all behind your yellow eyes, contact your doctor as soon as possible. But why jaundice, and how do different types of jaundice result in yellow eyes? Let me elaborate on this.

Is having yellow eyes a symptom?

Yellow eyes: when the white part of your eyes (called the sclera) changes color to a yellowish pigment, it is a symptom.Alarming at first glance. If your eyes turn a shade of yellow, this could be a warning sign that you are experiencing health-related issues.

Most of the time, issues related to the liver can be seen when you have yellow eyes. But it’s not a definitive symptom and could indicate other concerns. Your eyes are not white.

What can cause yellowing of the eyes and when can you seek medical treatment? Lack of vitamins like B-12 has been linked to yellowing of the eyes because of changes in red blood cell production. If you have dry eyes, eye pain, an eye injury, or sudden blurry vision, you need to contact eye doctors immediately.

Is having yellow eyes normal? Know more about Jaundice

Yellow eyes are not normal; they occur when the body produces yellow pigment (bilirubin) in excessive amounts. Too much medicine and alcohol can lead to jaundice or yellow eyes. It is often characterized by the liver’s inability to process bilirubin, as seen in Gilbert’s syndrome.

Here are some common causes of jaundice to discuss:

1. Jaundice Caused by Liver Disease (Hepatocellular Jaundice)

Jaundice is usually an indication of yellow eyes and is linked with underlying liver issues. This can happen when damaged liver cells cannot filter out bilirubin from the blood and make bile to digest food in the body.

Usually, hepatocellular (or intrahepatic) jaundice is associated with dysfunction of liver cells, losing the ability to process bilirubin. Henceforth, you experience yellow eyes in cases of jaundice.

Jaundice can result from hepatitis A, B, C, and even some of the cases of hepatitis D. Hepatocellular jaundice covers viral hepatitis, hereditary haemochromatosis, autoimmune hepatitis, primary biliary cirrhosis, alcoholic liver disease, and others. In cases like this, we remove blood until iron levels normalize in the body. But jaundice does leave a yellowish spot on the eyes for a long time.

2. Jaundice Caused by Bile Duct Obstruction (Post-Hepatic Jaundice)

In this case, doctors will try to remove the obstruction and restore bile flow. This procedure requires surgery. Post-hepatic jaundice is a condition that can result from gallstones, surgical strictures, or pancreatitis.

3. Pre-hepatic jaundice caused by Hemolytic anemia

In hemolytic anemia, red blood cells are destroyed faster than their production rate. Due to a lack of sufficient red blood cells, you experience yellow eyes, fatigue, and other symptoms.

Gilbert’s Syndrome

Gilbert syndrome is a common and harmless liver condition in which the liver fails to process bilirubin properly. But you can opt for certain lifestyle changes to prevent jaundice from this benign cause.

Criggler-Najjar syndrome

Normally, after 120 days, red blood cells are discharged from our body. Meanwhile, your liver removes bilirubin, a yellowish waste product, and destroys red blood cells. But in Crigler-Najjar syndrome, there’s a problem with the recycling process. It is an active cause of pre-hepatic jaundice and yellow eyes.

Symptoms of Yellow Eyes

Yellow eyes, unsurprisingly, are the yellowing of the whites of the eyes. Though the yellowing is not an immediate cause of panic, it is always good to make the correct diagnosis to avoid further health hazards.

In addition to this, you may also experience the following symptoms:

  • Yellow eyes come along with fatigue and weakness.
  • Certain medical conditions that cause yellow eyes may result in skin itching.
  • It denotes high bilirubin levels in the blood, which also results in urine turning dark.
  • When bilirubin is in excess in the body, the stool looks light-colored or clay-colored.
  • Medical conditions associated with yellow eyes also cause abdominal pain and discomfort.
  • Even you can experience loss of appetite and weight loss with the yellowing of the sclera of the eyes.

How can I clear my yellow eyes?

Eyes can get a little yellow but you can get off it. There is a myth regarding yellow eyes and drinking water. But you will be shocked that it does help to some extent, even if it’s small.

From your gut health to preventing organ malfunctions like the liver, gall bladder, and pancreas, sufficiently hydrating yourself makes a difference. Here are other tips on how you can get clear eyes:

  • Drink enough water to detoxify your body, including bilirubin.
  • Intake of fresh fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins and antioxidants to support your liver.
  • Limit your intake of alcohol and stay away from processed foods so as not to worsen your eyes.
  • Treatment of the eyes depends on the underlying cause of jaundice or other situations resulting in a yellowish tinge on the eyes.
  • Treatments include avoiding drinking, artificial tears, and even antiviral drugs.

Why are my eyes yellow? If not, jaundice

Besides jaundice, there are several other reasons you experience yellowness in the eyes., But they are less common compared to jaundice. Besides yellow skin, you can experience the pigments in your eyes, so what are the nemeses?

1. High-beta carotene

High beta-carotene content can result in the yellowing of the eyes. The yellowish pigment beta-carotene found in vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, and cantaloupe can cause yellowing of the eyes.

2. Certain medications

Yellow eyes could result as a side effect of medication, which usually lasts a few hours to a few days. You can get over it if you stop using it under the doctor’s advice. Drugs containing high bilirubin levels, such as allopurinol, anabolic steroids, some antibiotics, antimalarials, azathioprine, and chlorpropamide, can often worsen the condition.

3. Eye conditions

Only in rare cases is the yellowing of the eyes associated with an eye condition. The inflammation of the outer layer of the eyes (sclera) or fat deposits on the clear membrane (conjunctiva) can form a yellowish tinge.

Yellow Eyes: When to See a Doctor

People with yellow eyes are often suspected of jaundice. Severe conditions with jaundice can get severe and even be as fatal as complications of organ failure and tissue damage. Not necessarily; you need to worry about a single instance of yellowish pigment on eyes. But to be aware of how to get rid of it and get into its side effects or warning signs the eyes are showing regarding your health and well-being.

  • An underlying cause of yellowing of the eyes can be liver issues, so seek medical help.
  • Yellowish eyes can indicate viral hepatitis A, B, and C, which you need to be aware of.
  • Any progression of symptoms, including muscle and joint aches, abdominal pain, itchy skin, and fatigue, needs treatment.
  • Shortening of breath with exertion and yellow eyes could denote anemia, so see a doctor immediately.
  • A recent history of red or purple spots on your eye, accompanied by yellowing, can lead to subconjunctival hemorrhage.
  • Yellowish nodules on the surface of the eyes can even indicate sarcoidosis (an autoimmune condition).

You can go to the ER if you have moderate nausea, vomiting, or a high fever. That’s not it. See a doctor if you have a history of alcohol taking, contaminated food or beverage suspicion, or both eyes turning yellowish for more than 24 hours.


Yellow eyes can be a warning sign that you may have a serious underlying disease, but not always. Joint aches, weakness, high fever, and exertion are some common symptoms associated with yellowing of the sclera. If the eyes do not turn normal within 2 days, it is often advisable to see a doctor for the best help.

The eyes expert, with blood reports, will help you correctly diagnose why you are experiencing yellow eyes. And yes, having prolonged spots in your eyes, yellowish and other pigments requires your consciousness, because being wise is all about taking charge of your health.

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