Have you observed any color changes in your eyes? Even slight shade variations? What about your children’s eyes? Changes in eye color could actually be an indication of certain health problems.
You inherit the color of your eyes from your parents. They may be brown, green, blue or some variation of all those. The way our parents’ genes mix together can have many different results, with eye color not known until after a child is born. But eye color is not always permanent; you can experience changes as you age, and those changes could signal health issues as well.
The iris – a muscle that expands and contracts to control the size of the pupil — gets bigger in dim lighting and smaller in bright lighting. It shrinks when you focus on close objects, like when you’re reading. As the size of the pupil changes, the pigments in the iris can either come together or spread apart, which changes the eye color just a tad.
Warning Signs of Health Problems
Your emotions can even change pupil size and iris color. As we age, so too does eye color, occurring in up to 15 percent of people. However, if you notice your eye color changing dramatically, rather than subtle variations, you should make an appointment with your eye doctor. Of particular concern is when one eye changes from brown to green or blue to brown, referred to as heterochromia.
Significant changes in eye color can signal certain diseases such as Fuch’s heterochromic iridocyclitis, Horner’s syndrome or pigmentary glaucoma.
Up to three percent of patients suffer from Fuchs heterochromic iridocyclitis, with symptoms varying from nothing to mild blurring and discomfort, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Horner's syndrome is the result of a disruption of nerve pathways that go from the brain to the face on just one side of your body. It can manifest itself in decreased pupil size, a droopy eyelid and decreased sweating on one side of your face. Symptoms include persistently small pupils, difference in pupil size, changes in coloring, upper eye lid drooping, sunken appearance, and little to no dilation, according to the Mayo Clinic.
There are other subtle health signals as well. If you notice the whites of your eye are reddened, you could have undiagnosed eye allergies. If the whites turn yellow, this could signal a liver problem. And if only one eye has changed color, you could be displaying signs of neurofibromatosis, which causes nerve tissue tumors, or Waardenburg syndrome, which links deafness and pale skin. You could even have melanoma of the iris, says Prevention.
Contact Simon Eye Associates
If you notice any eye color changes or any changes in general affecting the eyes, don’t hesitate to call us at 302-239-1933. Or click now to schedule your appointment online. For your convenience, we have several Delaware locations to choose from.