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Causes Behind the White Part of the Eyes to Turn Brown or Yellow


We often notice when the white part of our eyes turns red. We quickly treat it with sleep, eye drops, or other medication.  But what if you see your eyes have a yellow or brown hue to them?  Is this healthy, or does this indicate something else?  Let’s take a look.

Why Are My Eyes Brownish Yellow?


The white part of our eye covers almost 80% of our eye’s surface and is called the sclera.  It is a protective layer that usually appears white in color if healthy.  But if your eyes have turned a brown or yellow color, it’s time to talk with your optometrist.  There may be some underlying health conditions that you need to get checked out.

Causes Behind the White Part of the Eyes to Turn Brown in Color


In most cases, brown spots in your eyes are completely normal.  There can be a nevus or eye freckle on any part of your eye.  This is kind of like a mole on your skin and is not harmful.  Also, African Americans sometimes have brown spots on their eye simply because of high amounts of melanin, a dark brown pigment in their body.

Brown spots can be an indicator of something more, though.  If you have a painless, flat brown spot that appears like a brown eye freckle at first and then slowly changes over time, it should be seen by your optometrist.  This could be a condition called primary acquired melanosis (PAM), which is a precancerous condition.  

Causes Behind the White Part of the Eyes to Turn Yellow in Color


The conjunctiva, a transparent, thin film that covers part of the eye’s front surface and the inside surface of the eyelids, can develop swelling and bulge of a small yellow area of tissue.  They can also appear red and irritated.  This condition is called pinguecula, and it’s caused by UV sun damage as well as dust and wind damage.  

If left untreated, a pinguecula can continue to grow until it becomes big enough to reach the cornea (your eye’s very outside lens) and even block your vision.  This is called pterygium or “surfer’s eye.”

If you find that the whole white part of your eye turns yellow, you may have jaundice.  Jaundice is caused by either your liver, gallbladder, or pancreas not doing their jobs or not working correctly.  Talk to your primary care physician immediately if you notice your entire sclera is turning yellow in color.  

How Do You Get Rid of Brown Spots in Your Eyes?


There are medicated drops available that may lighten your brown spots, as well as laser therapy that can rid your spots.  If you develop any new spots on your eye or questionable color changes of your sclera, ask your doctor to take a look.  This way, it can be monitored carefully for any kind of changes.  For more tips on keeping your eyes healthy, call to schedule an appointment and an eye exam today.

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