Yellow Eyes: Causes and Treatment

Yellow eyes, also known as jaundice, is a condition in which the skin and whites of the eyes turn yellow due to a buildup of bilirubin, a yellow pigment produced by the breakdown of red blood cells. Bilirubin is normally filtered from the blood by the liver and excreted in the bile, which is then released into the digestive system. However, if the liver is damaged or there is a blockage in the bile ducts, bilirubin can build up in the blood and tissues, causing jaundice.

There are many different causes of jaundice, including:

  • Liver disease: Liver diseases such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, and cancer can damage the liver and impair its ability to filter bilirubin from the blood.
  • Gallbladder disease: Gallstones can block the bile ducts, preventing bilirubin from being released into the digestive system.
  • Pancreatitis: Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas, which can also block the bile ducts.
  • Red blood cell disorders: Certain red blood cell disorders, such as sickle cell anemia and thalassemia, can lead to increased breakdown of red blood cells and increased production of bilirubin.
  • Medications: Some medications, such as antibiotics and birth control pills, can cause jaundice as a side effect.
  • Newborn jaundice: Newborn jaundice is a common condition that occurs in about half of all babies born in the United States. It is caused by the liver’s immaturity in newborns. Newborn jaundice typically resolves on its own within a few weeks.

If you have yellow eyes, it is important to see a doctor to determine the underlying cause and get the appropriate treatment. Treatment for jaundice will vary depending on the underlying cause. For example, if jaundice is caused by liver disease, treatment may involve medications, surgery, or a liver transplant. If jaundice is caused by gallstones, treatment may involve surgery to remove the gallbladder.

In addition to medical treatment, there are some things you can do at home to help relieve the symptoms of jaundice, such as:

  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Avoid alcohol and tobacco.

If you have any questions or concerns about yellow eyes, talk to your doctor.