Yellow around Eyes

Yellow around eyes is not a condition by itself, but a symptom of some other underlying condition, particularly jaundice. Yellow around eyes can be a symptom of a mild condition like side effect of medications, or it can be a sign of serious diseases such as malaria, hepatitis, sickle cell anemia,liver cirrhosis,fructose intolerance, pancreatic or liver cancer, and/or cholangiocarcinoma.

Symptoms accompanying yellow around eyes

In most cases, the signs and symptoms accompanying yellow around eyes are quite basic. Additional physiological symptoms are usually assessed after diagnostic tests are carried out to determine the cause of yellow around eyes.

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A few common symptoms that accompany yellow around eyes are listed below:

  • The discolored circles below and around the eyes may also exhibit purplish hues.
  • The eyes may experience itchiness.
  • Watery eyes.
  • The yellow patches around the eyes are uniform and circular in shape. Both children and adults are affected by it.
  • There may be some swelling or puffiness around the eyes. The eyelids may also experience swelling.
  • If yellow around eyes is caused by jaundice, then the skin becomes yellowish or paler.

Causes of yellow around eyes

It is may be noted that intake of increased amounts of foods abundant in beta carotene or vitamin A, such as squash, carrots, melons, etc., can cause the skin to become yellowish. However, eating them does not result in yellow around eyes.

Some common minor causes of yellow around eyes are listed below:

  • Formation of purple or yellow circles around eyes may arise due to reduced sleep. Fluid settles under the eyes when sleeping. Lack of sleep can precipitate this phenomenon. It is important for adults to sleep for a minimum of 7 to 8 hours every night. You may prop up the head with an additional pillow to prevent the collection of fluid under the eyes.
  • Yellow around eyes can also occur as a normal part of aging. But the skin tone around the eyes may experience minimal discoloration due to this. With an increasing age, the skin becomes thinner and the lines/wrinkles become more prominent. The skin around the eyes loses its elasticity and firmness thereby making the fat move forward and deposit under the eyes, thus facilitating discoloration.
  • Water retention can occur due to excessive consumption of salt or hormonal changes. This can then facilitate the formation of purple or yellow around eyes.
  • Yellow around eyes can occur as part of an allergic reaction. Additional symptoms include itching, redness, and swelling of the skin around the eyes. Rubbing the area can aggravate the condition. OTC antihistamines can help reduce the swelling and clear out the skin discoloration.
  • Dermatitis can also result in yellow around eyes.

Some common serious causes of yellow around eyes are listed below:

1. Jaundice

It is one of the most common causes of yellow around eyes. The skin also turns yellow and pale. Jaundice is caused due to bilirubin buildup; bilirubin is a by-product formed during processing of bile.Bilirubin forms after the break down of hemoglobin present in the blood. Bilirubin then moves to the liver, passes via the bile ducts, and is finally eliminated along with stool. Jaundice is caused when bilirubin is not removed normally, often due to disruptions in the above discussed process. The disruptions/abnormalities can arise due to a variety of reasons, such as alcohol abuse, liver dysfunction, etc.

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In addition to yellow around eyes, increased bilirubin can cause the following symptoms:

  • Light-colored feces
  • Dark urine
  • Itchy skin.

2. Liver conditions

The liver is one of the vital organs of the body. It plays an important role in breakdown of RBCs. Thus, varied diseases of the liver which cause it to dysfunction can result in yellow around eyes. Liver cirrhosis, i.e., liver scarring is one of the most prevalent causes of liver dysfunction. It may be caused due to:

  • Hepatitis A, B, D, C, and E viral infections
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol
  • Liver infection
  • Liver cancer
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; this disease typically affects obese individuals.

In addition to yellow around eyes, liver disease patients may also exhibit:

  • Inexplicable fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Lack/loss of appetite
  • Sudden drop in weight.

Some medical experts believe that underlying genetic disorders can also cause cirrhosis. One such condition is hemochromatosis; it causes increased accumulation of iron in the liver thereby affecting its normal functioning. Wilson’s disease leads to elevated levels of copper in the organ. Porphyria, in combination with other genetic conditions can result in increased deposition of porphyrin. It may be noted that all these compounds are needed to produce hemoglobin.

3. Conditions of the gallbladder

Bile produced by the liver passes through the bile ducts and gets stored in the gallbladder. The gallbladder then releases it to assist the digestive processes. Blockage in the bile ducts can result in jaundice and subsequent yellow around eyes. Bile ducts obstruction can occur due to:

  • Gallstones; it is the most widespread cause of bile duct clogging.
  • Inflammation of the gallbladder.
  • Growth of tumors or cysts.

Other symptoms experienced by patients include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Bloody, i.e., red or pink stool.
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Pain in the abdomen.

4. Conditions of the pancreas

The bile duct and the pancreatic duct connect so as to facilitate the passage of bile into the small bowel. Any obstruction or disease of the pancreatic duct, like pancreatic cancer, can lead to improper drainage of bile eventually causing jaundice.

  • Jaundice symptoms associated to pancreas anomalies are not as common as those related to hepatitis, gallstones, or liver conditions.

5. Blood disorders

Varied blood disorders can cause abnormal removal of bilirubin and/or impaired RBCs break down. Hence, conditions that affect the lifespan or production of RBCs can cause yellow around eyes. Some common causative blood disorders are:

  • Immune hemolytic anemia caused due to use of drugs
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • An unsuitability reaction to a blood transfusion; it is a medical emergency.

6. Heart disease

Yellow patches around eyes may be xanthelasmata. Recent studies have shown that xanthelasmata patients were more likely to suffer from a heart attack or other heart conditions. Visit a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Treatment of yellow around eyes

  • Minor cases of yellow around eyes can be treated with home remedies such as increased intake of water, avoiding alcohol, using sunscreen and sunglasses, and application of cold compresses.
  • Severe and persistent cases need to be checked by a doctor.
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