Yellow Eyes – Causes, Picture, Symptoms And Treatment

Yellow eyes are caused when the white part of the eye gets yellow in color. This happens due to a pigment, which is termed as bilirubin. The bilirubin is a yellow colored pigment produced by the breakdown of old red blood cells. The liver produces this pigment, which is released into the intestine and after some time is excreted from the body.

Yellow eye in newborn babies is very common. Newborn babies suffer from a disease, which is known as newborn jaundice. In newborn jaundice the babies, have yellow colored skin and eyes. Once you observe the symptoms of this condition, you must inform your doctor about this condition. In both children and adults, yellow eyes occur due to serious underlying diseases and conditions that lead to the damage of the liver or causes the liver be dysfunctional. Blockage in the bile duct is also another reason for the cause of this condition. The obstruction in the bile duct is caused due to pancreatitis or gallstones. Serious diseases that are related to the liver like hepatitis and cirrhosis are also responsible for the yellow eyes. Blood disorders like hemolytic anemia can also cause yellow eyes. In this condition, the red blood cells are destroyed abnormally.

Yellow Eyes picture

Causes of Yellow Eyes

Jaundice is one of the main reasons for yellowing of the eyes and skin. The other reason for the yellowing of the skin and eyes is the inability of the body to replace old red blood cells.

The cause of yellow eyes in newborns is due to the following reason:

Yellowing of the eyes and skin in newborns is a very common condition. It is not a very serious disease and disappears naturally without any medication few weeks after birth. A pregnant woman’s liver produces the fetus bilirubin before the birth of the child takes place. After the birth of the child, the child starts the processing of bilirubin, but the quantity produced may not be sufficient. This results in temporary yellowing of the eyes and the skin, which is not harmful at all. Other reasons behind newborn jaundice are:

  • Blockages in the ducts that carry bile
  • Certain blood disorders or abnormalities
  • Inherited disorders
  • Infections

Cause of yellow eyes in children and adults:

The yellowing of the eyes and skin in children and adult occur due to bilirubin buildup. The reason behind the buildup of bilirubin is a damaged kidney. The damage to the kidney can occur with certain diseases. Pancreatitis or gallstones can cause obstruction of the bile duct that leads to yellowing of the eyes.

The other reasons associated with the liver are:

  • Bile duct narrowing
  • Cancer of liver and pancreas
  • Scarring of the liver
  • Slowing of the bile flow due to the intake of drugs
  • Hepatitis
  • Lack of blood or oxygen reaching the liver
  • Obstruction of bile ducts induced during pregnancy
  • Destroying of the red blood cells
  • Malaria
  • Sun exposure can also lead to yellow eyes
  • Sickle-cell anemia

Complication involved

In adults, the yellow eyes may be due to life threatening diseases and they may witness the following complications:

  • Kidney failure
  • Hypertension
  • Esophageal varices

In newborns, the yellow eye condition is caused due to rapid rise in the level of bilirubin. This leads to jaundice which can further lead to other dangerous condition called kernicterus, which damages the brain. This disease can cause the following issues:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Hearing loss
  • Teeth and vision issue

Symptoms of Yellow Eyes

Apart from having the yellow eyes and skins, the other symptoms that are associated with this condition are:

  • Itching of skin
  • Feeling of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
  • Poor appetite
  • Feeling of being ill
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dark or brown colored urine
  • Weight loss
  • Weakness

Some other symptoms that can be a sign of having some underlying dangerous health issues are:

  • Vomiting of blood or rectal bleeding
  • Fainting or passing out
  • Shortness of breath
  • Severe weakness
  • Feeling extremely fussy
  • Lack of stool or urine
  • Inability to breast-feed
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Unusual weakness


Some of the home remedies for treating the yellow eyes are:

  • You should drink plenty of water. Having lots of water would increase the chances of removal of the toxins from the body.
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. This helps in the regeneration of the process of the liver.
  • Sleep is necessary. You must get sufficient amount of sleep. You might get easily irritated and might get tired quickly if you do not get proper sleep.
  • You must avoid drinking alcohol as it can damage your liver
  • You must follow a healthy lifestyle
  • You must get yourself vaccinated against hepatitis


Yellow eye is a very common disease that may occur among all the ages. This disease is not a dangerous disease, but it might be an indication towards some other underlying disease that can be detrimental to one’s health. It is very important to observe the symptoms of yellow eyes and visiting a doctor. The doctor would diagnose the patient and after determining the reason behind the issue would provide suggest the treatment to follow. Following your physicians’ advice is the best way of being cured as soon as possible. You must also make sure that you do a regular follow-up with your doctor. If you have been advised a medication, then continue with the medications till the time your condition gets cured completely. You can also ask the doctor to provide you with eye drops to ease out any irritation caused due to this condition in your eyes. As a preventive step, it is advisable to stop the consumption of alcohol as it damages the liver and one should get hepatitis shots as well. This disease can be a sign towards a damaged kidney; hence, if you feel that you suffer from this disease, then you must go get yourself checked.

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