Can Your Eye Color Impact Your Health?



Changes in eye color are rare and usually harmless, but they could indicate a medical condition requiring treatment.

Why Are My Eyes Changing Color?

Your eyes may appear to change color according to light or the clothes you wear. However, certain conditions such as trauma, medication and diseases could cause an actual change in eye color.

Injury to the eye can damage the iris or corneal tissue and make the eye color look different. A dilated pupil can also appear to change the color of the eye, and trauma like a stroke or brain injury could cause this.

Glaucoma medications like prostaglandins can cause lasting color changes in the iris, often making the iris color darker over time. Conversely, Latisse is a prostaglandin medication that does not appear to alter the color of the iris because it is not applied directly to the eye.

Diseases or Conditions
Several diseases or syndromes can cause color changes in the eyes. For example, cataracts cloud the eye lens and can make the pupil look milky white. About 25 percent of people in their 60s have cataracts, but they are easily removed with cataract surgery.

Another condition called arcus senilisis can make your eyes look a different color. A build-up of fats in the eye causes a hazy blue or white ring around the peripheral cornea. This could mean you have high cholesterol.

Uveitis is an inflammation of the eyeball, often caused by autoimmune or infectious diseases. This condition sometimes causes redness in the conjunctiva or the eye's clear covering. However, it can also alter the color of the iris.

Make an Appointment for an Eye Exam

If you experience any change in eye color or any other aspect of your vision, it's always best to have an eye exam by a board-certified ophthalmologist. Eye conditions like glaucoma or macular degeneration can develop slowly and often do not cause symptoms in the early stages.

A yearly comprehensive eye exam tests more than your vision. It offers a window into your overall health. An ophthalmologist can sometimes detect signs of hypertension, diabetes or high cholesterol while checking your eyes.

Most eye exams take only an hour, but the payoff will last a lifetime. Our eye care centers are located nationwide, and their friendly staff can schedule you for an appointment at your convenience. Your vision is worth the investment.