Yellow(ing) Eyes

Yellow(ing) Eyes

Hi, I'm 23 and have been battling with doctors because no one can seem to give me straight forward answers, if any at all. I've always noticed the yellow spots or lines in my eyes for as long as I can remember, but it's never bothered me because no one else has ever noticed it. This past January while in a very heated argument, my fiancé immediately stopped me mid sentence to make me go look in the mirror, the whole whites of my eyes had glazed over yellow basically. Unfortunately, I did not get any pictures and I pretty much just passed it off like it was nothing really. Well February I went out with some freads drinking and stayed the night and woke up the next morning feeling fine after about 7 beers and maybe a drink or two oddly enough. As the morning progressed I started feeling worst and worst. Couldn't eat breakfast I I was so sick. One of my friends who is a nurse noticed my eyes had glazed over yellow after a night out instructed me to see a doctor. At this point I felt like crap, my eyes were yellow, and my abdomen hurt. I waited until about 4 that afternoon to actually go to the doctor and by then most all of the yellow had cleared up leaving just the normal everyday yellow spots I see. Well the doctor claims to not have been able to see the yellow, but ordered labs anyways. My creatinine level came back elevated which pertains to the kidneys, but has denied me any further answers besides drink more water. (Mind you I drink 96oz of water daily) My water intake should not be the issue. I decided to get a second opinion and again my levels came back elevated, but instead I was told to lower my fluid intake. At this point I'm so confused and still have no idea why my eyes are yellow! I decided to call one more doctor and asked if they ran tests would it take long to get results back, he instructed me not to wait, if my eyes are yellow go to the hospital. So for the third time, I had labs done and everything came back normal and still no answers!! But two of the three doctors have told me to get my eyes checked and that they don't see the yellow. I guess my questions. for you all are, Can you see the yellow or am I crazy? Why would I be told to have my eyes checked? And why can't anyone give me answers?

27 Replies

  • Your eyes look pretty white to me. Typically a condition called jaundice is responsible for the sclera (white part of the eye) turning yellow. Jaundice is caused by a buildup of bilirubin in the blood which would easily be detected in blood work. I would hope they ran a bilirubin test when they did labs. Conditions that can cause higher levels of Bilirubin usually pertain to issues involving the liver, pancreas and/or gallbladder. Also, when someone develops jaundice it's not just a yellowing of the eyes but over all body. The eyes usually can be detected more easily though. I would ask questions about my blood work such as Liver enzyme tests and bilirubin levels.

    Hope this helps.

    Wendy Xx

  • If I were you I'd ask for a print out of my results and then post on here your levels of








    Those levels will tell a story. You will be able to get a good explanation of those results from people on here.

    In the meantime Do your liver a favour and go easy on the alcohol. I would advise you to go to an optician as they would pick up on any yellowing I would think.

    Good luck

  • I would concur with the doctors-they dont look yellow to me either. If the blood tests are fine-its unlikely to be jaundice. The doctors are saying get your eyes checked because they think your'e seeing things...:-) just kidding. I'm guessing you're posting on this site because you think maybe your lifestyle may be causing you health problems. I think at 23 that's unlikely but dont be surprised after 7 pints and a few shorts you dont feel great. Its called a binge. I'm not going to lecture you on drinking (been there got the t shirt) save to say that the new govt guidelines on alcohol are 14 units a week. You did that in a night. Do that on a continued basis and you'll end up like some of us on this forum.

    Think about it.



  • It's well worth getting those suggested blood tests done.

    When I was about 17 years old I went to the Dr's a couple of time's because I thought my eye's were yellowing. Looking back now he didn't even try, and just sent me out of the clinic saying if you're worried, stop drinking etc etc...

    At 27 years old I was diagnosed with liver cirrhosis. I had a transplant about a year and a half ago.

    I'm not saying it's the same for you but I always felt my eye's were too yellow and that led me to believe I may have liver damage. That was 10 years before the Dr's diagnosed it.

    For me I just new I was ill. I can't explain more than that? And it was no surprise when a routine blood test showed up cirrhosis.

    I know there are a lot of anxious people on this site and this post will probably not help them. But it was true for me.

  • interesting and slightly worrying post...hope you're in full recovery.


  • Well after transplant there's never really a full recovery but I'm as good as I can be.

    I did think twice before posting because I know there are lots of anxious people who believe they have symptoms but after full blood tests aren't convinced and continue worrying.

    I on the other hand thought my problem was also anxiety so didn't peruse blood tests etc. Unfortunately it turned out not to be anxiety.

    The cause of my liver disease remains unknown however probably the only significant thing that happened to me when I was young was a rugby injury. I ended up with someone else's tooth snapped of into my forehead. I had stitches but it got really infected and all my glands in my neck swelled up. It lasted a couple of weeks and I had a fever etc.

    That's the only thing that I can think of. Wierd Huh?

  • yes indeed-strange and worrying. Glad you're as well as can be expected. It was a shock to me when I joined this forum to find so many people with serious liver issues who'd never touched a drop...unlike the usual suspects like me who spent a lifetime drinking for england.....still you live and learn...


  • Well until I was diagnosed, I was a student in London in the early 90's. I certainly wasn't tea total, among other things, but it didn't cause my liver damage.

  • well I've known for a long time that my drinking was causing liver stress but chose to ignore and used ok blood tests to justify.....until I got a high GGT one.

    I'm not being complacent about cirrhosis btw-I just read the tribute at a friends funeral who like me ignored the diagnosis. That certainly brought it home-

  • I hope your doing better. And again, more labs drawn today. My normal doctor went above and beyond. Not only did he notice the yellow on my eyes, he checked under my tongue too and it was yellow. Weird.

  • If you are in the UK it is your 'right' to have a full printout of any results that have been done. There may be a small charge for photocopying, more if the tests were done more than a certain time ago. I always just ask at my GP's reception a day or so after the tests, and they do it there and then if they're not busy. If they're not used to you they may have to check with the GP first, if he refuses, challenge it.

    There should have been a full 'liver' enzyme panel done, with the enzymes/chemicals mentioned that the others, especially Dooley, list above.

    The British Liver Trust (who host this site on 'Health Unlocked') can give you more advice. There is a link to their site at the top of this page and you will find contact details on their site to help you to talk to a trained advisor.

    As others have said, above, yellow eyes should not be ignored. Go back to GP and ask for more action, but I'd talk to the BLT first.

    Hope this helps.

  • Playing devil's advocate here (not necessarily my views personally)

    Jaundice for only a few hours is associated with jaundice but really only in newborn babies - this is why your gp didn't flag a problem.

    If it happens again take a photo in better light and you don't need to be so close to the camera - jaundice can be seen from a distance.

    Yellowing of the eyes without other symptoms will not flag a problem.

    Creatinine levels, as with most other tests, have a range of results that is considered normal, it is possible that you were being warned that your level is at the top end of the range but not high enough to be a problem.

    If they found your creatinine levels, it sounds like they did a full blood test as well.

    I can see why your doctor has been reticent to take things further.

    My view...

    Is your urine dark? Especially in the morning, if so ask the receptionist at your surgery for a sample bottle and when you notice the problem, get a sample and take it to your gp surgery before twelve o'clock and request a full analysis of the sample. Usually a practice nurse can organise this.

    Keep a diary of all symptoms you notice over the period of a month, it is better to produce a longer date range than one week in your position.

    When you have all of this information, book another appointment.

    Take someone to the gp with you who has witnessed the symptoms and may be able to describe the problem better. It's hard to see our own eyes as we have to be so close.

    Unfortunately, until you can provide supporting evidence you are not going to get a different response from your gp.

  • See the tiny blood vessels in your eye? Sometimes a few blood cells escape and end up outside the vessels. Think about if you have a hickey or a bruise. The discoloration is because blood cells are out in the tissues instead of being inside the vessels. The body must break down the red blood cells and take away the cellular debris. As this happens, we sometimes see different colors - purple, yellow, and red being the most common colors seen as a bruise is healing. In the eyes, we normally see a trace of yellow as the escaped blood cell is cleaned away.

    To see an extreme example, google "broken blood vessel in eye" or something like that. You will see images of eye tissue healing at different phases, and sometimes you see a trace of yellow around the edges.

    I think this is what is happening to your eyes. Your blood pressure goes up from an argument or drinking too much or some other stress factor, and it squeezes a few blood cells out of the capillaries in your eyes. As the body disposes of the broken blood cell, there is a trace of yellow that clears up rather quickly.

    Sometimes medications like birth control pills can weaken the walls of capillaries and make it more likely for blood cells to leak out.

    You were right to go to the doctor because sometimes yellowing of the eyes is a sign of something much worse, like liver or kidney disease. But, since your blood tests come back normal, I think you are ok.

    Your creatinine level was probably high due to dehydration. Even if you drink 96oz of water daily, drinking alcohol will dehydrate you.

    Your doctors are right to tell you to seek medical attention and run blood tests, just to be on the safe side. But they are not optometrists, right? Try an eye doctor next time because they can look very closely at the vessels with their loupes. Not that they can do anything about it, except to consider if maybe a medication is making this worse for you or perhaps tell you to stop drinking so much or suggest that you try stress reduction techniques.

    So, try not to worry. Take note of any kind of stress happening right before you see the yellow. And take good care of yourself. Keep an eye on your blood pressure as you get older. This could be a warning sign of developing hypertension later on.

  • I did take note of any emotional or physical stress and it did seem to increase the yellowish appearance. I broke out in hives Sunday after spending a day in the sun and my eyes were more yellow than normal. I'm keeping record of it. And visited my doctor today and will continue to keep record until we figure out what the problem is. Thank you

  • Very difficult to see pic properly onphone.have you had liver function tests?

  • **UPDATE**

    (Sorry I haven't been on, crazy work schedule)

    I had a follow up on this with my normal doctor today, and got a little more answers. He did see the yellow in my eyes and actually had me life my tongue and said that is a secondary place to check. Under the tongue can be yellow too and low and behold, it was. I'm thankful he saw both of these and I no longer appear crazy. Haha. But seriously I never knew to check there. And we discussed my past blood test results and he again said my creatinine levels were high and my bilirubin levels were high too. Sorry I didn't get exact numbers, just said they were elevated. He drew more blood again today and should have the results soon I hope. He seemed very interested in finding the problem so I am hopeful. I appreciate everyone's feedback and advice. I will try to keep you all updated.

  • Bilirubin was normal and then high?  Check out Gilbert's Syndrome.  With Gilbert's Syndrome the bilirubin level can go up and down, and sometimes jaundice can be seen in the eyes and skin but then it goes away.  The spikes in bilirubin and jaundice or yellowing can be related to episodes of stress.  It normally does not have serious consequences, its just that there is an enzyme that processes bilirubin (the stuff that can turn you yellow), and people with Gilbert's are naturally low in that enzyme.

    Check it out and see if that seems to fit your symptoms.  Here's one link, but there's lots more info on the internet

  • I'll look into it. Thank you

  • New blood work showed clear results, still no answers as to why my eyes are yellowing and underneath my tongue. Should I just calm down or insist answers?

  • Have you been checked for thrush, anaemia, etc as these can cause coloured coatings on the tongue.

    Yellow tongue usually occurs as a result of a harmless buildup of dead skin cells on the surface of your tongue. Bacteria in your mouth can produce coloured pigments. Also your tongue can be stained by tobacco, food or bright coloured spices.

  • I have not. This was a secondary place to check for jaundice. And it was yellowish. It wasn't my tongue at all that was yellow though, it was under my tongue not the tongue itself.

  • Hi Bolly, you mentioned thrush?  i am in the fiboris 4 club with slightly elevated bilirubin and have on occasion had some thrush - i believe this infection is from chemicals like soap/ shampoo and maybe something i have eaten or Drink......

    apart from the above reasons and Sex, i cant find the link??

  • Thrush is a fungal/yeast infection 'Cantfind1username'.  Women commonly get it in the genital area - it can be treated with pessary and cream bought from chemist.  Thrush in the mouth can get worse if you dont have good dental hygiene or eat a lot of sugar.  If you are having repeated attacks of thrush then see your GP.

  • Hello Bolly 😘😘😘 sorry for posting on someone's thread but just wanted to say Hi and hope all is well ❤️❤️❤️

  • Hello you - yes I'm ok at the mo.  Hope you are too.  

  • hi Bolly,  only on occasion(yeast from beer !) - but what i cant see is the link between the slightly elevated bilirubin and thrush ? do you get these said infections if you have above readings of bilirubin.or is it just limited to the mouth. 

  • I dont think i said there was a link between bilirubin and thrush?  The original poster was worried she had jaundice - which does elevate bilirubin.  I think the thrush discussion started because she was worried about the colour of her tongue.

You may also like...