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Discolored Eyes

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You wake up, go to the mirror to take a gander at your beautiful self, and BOOM! What’s THAT? A colored spot on the white of your eye takes you by surprise, and then down a WebMD rabbit hole. Fear not; we’re here to tackle the truths of discoloration.

Why are the whites of my eyes yellow?
A small patch of yellow tissue may be pinguecula (a raised growth deposit of protein, fat, or calcium), which can turn into a larger growth called pterygium, or “surfer’s eye”. These conditions are commonly caused by UV sun damage combined with damage from wind or dust.

Another common cause of yellow sclera (yellowing of the white of the eye) is jaundice, a buildup of old red blood cells. These cells are usually filtered out by the liver, but when the liver, gallbladder, or pancreas aren’t working correctly, one may experience jaundice. This may be indicative of a serious health issue and should be addressed ASAP with your primary care physician.

Why are the whites of my eyes brown?
African Americans may experience brown spots on the white of the eye due to high levels of the dark brown pigment melanin. This is harmless.

A more serious condition is primary acquired melanosis, which is precancerous. It may begin as a painless, flat brown spot in one eye. If you notice this on your eye it is important to consult your primary eye care physician as primary acquired melanosis left untreated may become life-threatening.

Why are the whites of my eyes blue/grey?
Medications such as minocycline, an antibiotic used to treat rosacea and rheumatoid arthritis, can cause a blue/grey sclera. Thinning of the sclera (which is most common in people with iron deficiency, anemia, osteogenesis imperfecta or brittle bone disease, and Marfan’s Syndrome) can also reveal a blue/grey tint.

Why is there a red/pink spot on the white of my eye?
A bright red spot on the white of the eye may be a sign of a broken blood vessel, or subconjunctival hemorrhage. This is harmless and will heal with time. Bloodshot eyes may indicate allergies, dry eyes, smoke irritation, or contact lens irritation. Conjunctivitis, or pink eye, can also cause red eyes. Less commonly, red eyes may also denote a more serious disease, such as uveitis or glaucoma.

Now What?
If you’re experiencing eye discoloration and are still unsure if you should worry or not, it’s better to fare on the safe side. Call (559) 486-2000 today and our team will get you scheduled for a check-up.