Yellowing of the eyes occurs if you have jaundice. Jaundice occurs when the oxygen-carrying components in the blood, called hemoglobin, break down into bilirubin and your body doesn’t clear the bilirubin. Bilirubin is supposed to move from the liver to the bile ducts, and then your body should release it in your stool. If any part of this process doesn’t occur, bilirubin builds up in your skin and causes it to appear yellow. This also can occur in your eyes. The white portion of the eye is known as the sclera. Healthy eye tissue should appear white. Yellowing of the eyes suggests there’s an underlying medical condition present. Here are some of the most common causes of yellow eyes.
Yellowing of the eyes and skin is common in newborns due to physiological jaundice, which is usually not serious and often disappears within two weeks after birth. A pregnant woman’s liver processes the fetus’ bilirubin before birth. After birth, the baby’s liver begins to function and process bilirubin, but may not process the bilirubin in sufficient quantities during the first several days. Physiological jaundice can result in temporary yellowing of the eyes and skin that is often not serious or harmful. Breastfeeding can also contribute to newborn jaundice.
Serious, but less common, causes of newborn jaundice include:
- Biliary atresia (blockages in the ducts carrying bile from the liver to the gallbladder)
- Certain blood disorders or abnormalities
- Certain inherited disorders
- Liver disease
Although yellow eyes or skin in newborns is often not serious, it is important to notify your infant’s health care provider immediately if you notice yellowing of the eyes or skin in your baby so that your baby’s condition and bilirubin levels can be evaluated, monitored and treated if needed.
Yellow eyes, as well as yellowing of the skin, occur in children and adults when bilirubin builds up due to serious diseases and conditions that cause liver damage or dysfunction, or block the bile ducts. Certain conditions of the gallbladder or pancreas, such as pancreatitis or gallstones, can cause obstruction of the bile ducts that leads to jaundice and yellowing of the eyes.
Liver or biliary-system causes of yellow eyes include:
- Bile duct narrowing or obstruction (due to gallstones or pancreatitis)
- Cancer including that of the liver and pancreas
- Cirrhosis (liver scarring due to a variety of liver diseases)
- Drug-induced cholestasis (slowing of bile flow due to medications)
- Hepatitis (liver inflammation, which can be caused by alcoholism, medications or infection)
- Ischemic hepatocellular jaundice (due to a lack of blood or oxygen reaching the liver)
- Pregnancy-induced obstruction of the bile ducts
If you want to get rid of yellow eyes, get lots of rest and eat planet of healthy foods. Sleep well so that your body is well rested. Toxins can make you feel tired and fatigued. If these remedies are not helping you, it is important to seek medical help. If the liver is damaged too severely, treatment for yellow eyes is to get a liver transplant. Since yellow eyes disease is almost always related to the liver, getting treatment for liver is necessary.