August 18, 2023

Why Are Black People's Eyes Yellow?

As a whole, black people typically have dark brown eyes. But due to genetic inheritance from non-African ancestors, and migration over the centuries, many individuals with African descent have eyes of different colors. While blue eyes in black people are uncommon, it is possible. It may be a result of a rare genetic mutation. Or it could be a sign of ocular albinism, which is a condition that reduces the amount of melanin in the eye.

The white area of the eye, called the sclera and conjunctiva, sometimes takes on a blotchy yellow color in black people. This is due to the concentration of melanin pigments in the sclera. It is not harmful, but can be confused with jaundice or liver disease.

Anemia can also cause the eyes to appear yellowish. This occurs when your blood doesn't have enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen to your tissues. Common types of anemia include sickle cell anemia, autoimmune hemolytic anemia and anemia caused by infections like malaria. You can treat most forms of anemia by eating a diet rich in iron, drinking plenty of water and avoiding foods that interfere with nutrient absorption.

A yellowing of the sclera can be a sign of liver disease, which is why it's important to see your optometrist or ophthalmologist as soon as you notice this change in eye color. They can assess your risk for liver disease and recommend tests if necessary. They can also help you eat a diet high in liver-friendly nutrients, including fruits and vegetables like limes, oranges, papayas, pumpkins and tomatoes.


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