Why Do Blind People’s Eyes Turn White?
Have you ever been talking to someone and realize that their eyes are a little white or cloudy in color? Why is that? Is there something that caused this change in color, or does it eventually happen to all our eyes? What can you do to avoid it yourself?
Science Behind Blind People’s White Eyes
If you’ve ever wondered why some people have bright, beautiful eyes, and others (especially some older adults) seem to have a little bit of a hazy look to their eyes, the answer may be cataracts.
A cataract is an accumulation of protein on the eye’s lens. When this happens, light cannot pass through, which causes partial vision loss.
Cataracts are not rare. In fact, it is the leading cause of blindness in the world and doesn’t just affect the older generation. Cataracts have been found to impact young adults and even young kids as well.
Some factors that can cause cataracts are:
- UV rays – When we are exposed to the sun’s UV rays, even in small doses, our eyes are exposed as well. This exposure increases the chance of developing cataracts.
- Diabetes – Those with diabetes are even more likely to develop cataracts faster and at a younger age than those who don’t.
- Medications – Corticosteroids are associated with cataracts if they have been used for a prolonged period of time.
- Smoking – Those who smoke 15 + cigarettes a day have up to three times greater risk of developing cataracts than those who don’t smoke.
- Alcohol – Individuals with greater alcohol consumption are more likely to get cataracts than those who don’t drink much or at all.
Diseases That Cause Cloudy White Eyes
Although many diseases cause cloudy white eyes, cataracts are the most common. Some other conditions that could be a factor are:
- Fuchs’ dystrophy – a disease that affects the cornea
- Macular degeneration – when the retina deteriorates
- Diabetic retinopathy – a complication of diabetes where the blood vessels in the retina are damaged.
It’s essential to visit your eye doctor if you have any concerns about the development of cloudy white eyes, especially if it happens suddenly.
Can Eyes Be Naturally White or Grey
Some people can have naturally grey eyes. It is very uncommon, though. Less than 1 percent of the population has grey eyes. It can occur most often in northern and eastern Europe. It is believed that those with grey eyes have less melanin than even blue-eyed people. Because grey eyes are so uncommon and your eye color doesn’t change drastically throughout your life, make sure to contact your doctor if you notice a grey or whiteness in your eyes.
As we’ve learned, blindness can be a typical result of cataracts. Although it can be treated through a simple outpatient surgery, many people still don’t seek treatment or have treatment available to them.
If you suspect that you or a loved one could have cataracts or are experiencing partial blindness, don’t wait to call us to schedule an eye exam and learn more about healthy vision habits.