The Whites of Your Eyes ---
Causes and Top 10 Natural Remedies
for Red, Yellow and Gray Eyes
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Can't Find an Article?- Index of Conditions

February 22, 2011, last updated September 14, 2014

By Louise Carr, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist

[Health and fitness articles are reviewed by our team of Registered
Nurses, Certified fitness trainers and other members of our Editorial

The whites of your eyes -- that sea of white surrounding
your beautiful hazel, baby blue or big brown eyes-- can
give you pretty good clues about your health. The
whites of your eyes, technically called the "sclera", start
off in life as pure white. Over time, age and various
conditions assault the whites of our eyes, leaving them
red, yellow, gray, cloudy or even brown. Are there any
natural remedies to restore the whites of your eyes?
Can changing your diet turn the whites of your eyes
white again? When is eye discoloration a serious medical

Many conditions can cause red, yellow and gray eyes.
Some are serious and others are easily treatable.

The most common unusual eye color is red. Red eyes
occur when the blood vessels near the surface of the
eye become dilated and enlarged. One of the most likely
reasons for your red eyes is conjunctivitis. Another
common cause is eye strain caused when your eyes try
too hard to focus or when they are overused from hours
of driving, reading or simply using the computer.
high blood pressure can turn your eyes red.

According to The Johns Hopkins University School of
Medicine, conjunctivitis is responsible for 30 percent of
all our eye complaints in America – and around 15
percent of us will suffer an attack of red eye
conjunctivitis at some point in our lives. But conjunctivitis
is not the end of the story – read on for more red eye
culprits and why your eyes are yellow, brown, white or

Common Causes for Red Eyes

Red eyes are often caused by a condition called
"blepharitis", an
inflammation of the eyelash follicles.
Bhlepharitis can be caused by, among other things,using
eye makeup.  

Many eye infections, including blepharitis, are caused by  
use of mascara and eye liner, according to several
studies, including a 2011 study Led by Dr. L. Clifford of
the Portsmouth Eye Unit, Queen Alexandra Hospital,
Hampshire, UK.

Blepharitis is caused by an overabundance of bacteria
due to an infection, dermatitis or allergies. With
blepharitis you may feel like you’ve got dust or sand in
your eye. Your eyes are red and irritated, the eyelids
crusted and swollen. You may experience itching and

Red eyes are also caused by uveitis, an inflammation of
the uvea, the middle layer of your eye beneath the
white. Symptoms also include blurred vision, floaters and
light sensitivity. (Read more about causes of light

Conjunctivitis is also known as "pink eye" although the
condition actually makes your eyes red. Conjunctivitis is
also an inflammation, this time of the clear layer that
protects the front of the eye. Conjunctivitis may be
caused by many things – allergies, viruses, bacteria or
toxic substances.

When you don’t produce enough tears to lubricate the
surface of the eye it can become scratched, inflamed
and red. This is called dry eye. Sometimes wearing
contact lenses can make your eyes so dry they become

A subconjunctival hemorrhage – a burst blood vessel –
can be brought on by a bad sneezing or coughing fit,
intense straining, vomiting, or
high blood pressure and
diabetes, according to a study from the Department of
Ophthalmology, Kozluk State Hospital in Turkey.

Injury can also cause red eyes. More seriously, acute
angle-closure glaucoma is often characterized by a
painful redness that usually occurs in one eye only. Red
eyes could be a sign of an ulcer or infection in the
cornea, the dome-like lens of the eye.

Common Causes for Yellow Eyes

If your eyes are a yellow color, you could have jaundice.
Jaundice produces yellow-colored skin, membranes and
eyes. Jaundice is also a symptom of other disorders such
as liver damage. It is caused by a build-up of bilirubin –
yellow pigment from old blood cells – due to the liver
being overloaded or damaged or having too many red
blood cells to process. Yellow eyes are almost always a
sign of jaundice so you need to get checked out.  (Read
more about
causes and remedies for jaundice.)

Causes of Brown Spots on the Eye

If you’re seeing a brown spot on your eye, flashes of
light or have distorted vision visit your doctor as it may
be a sign of choroidal melanoma.

Malignant choroidal melanomas are very rare –
according to The Eye Cancer Network six out of every
million people get a choroidal melanoma each year in the
United States – and very serious as they can spread to
other parts of the body.

Brown spots may also be caused by harmless
productions of melatonin, like freckles, and can be
prevented by wearing sunglasses and a wide-brimmed
hat to protect the eyes from the sun.

Many people notice a gray or white spot on the eye, or
see that the eye is white or cloudy. What does this
mean? Leukocoria is a condition where the pupil appears
white instead of black. Other conditions cause a cloudy
cornea and make your eye look discolored and “dirty”.
These include cataracts, Coats' disease, coloboma,
Sjogren's syndrome, poor nutrition and burns to the

If you’re worried about yellow eyes, cloudy eyes or
brown spots you must visit a physician as the conditions
that cause these colored eyes can not usually be treated
with natural remedies. If your eyes are red, read on.
We’ve had a good look around all the literature about
red and irritated eyes and come up with the following 10
natural remedies.

Top 10 Natural Remedies for Your Discolored Eyes

1. Gentle Cleansing Helps Clear Red Eyes

Sometime the simple remedies are the best. According
to a 2005 review by Sheikh and Hurwitz published in the
British Journal of General Practice, 6% of conjunctivitis
cases clear up on their own after a few days.

But you can help the process along by gently cleaning
around the eye area with special cleanser or a simple
warm water and baby shampoo solution with a cotton

Don’t use make up or contact lenses and wash your
hands frequently to avoid spreading the infection.

Red eyes caused by blepharitis also respond to daily
cleansing to remove skin oils that allow bacteria to grow
on the edges of your eyelids, according to a report by
Ganatra and Goldstein in the 3rd Edition of

Herbal Teas Help Red Eyes Caused by Conjunctivitis

For irritated or red eyes caused by conjunctivitis, try the
following herbal teas. But leave the mug on the shelf
and put the tea to work directly on the problem. Apply
herbal tea to the eyes using a compress or poultice.

  • Eyebright. With a name like "eyebright", you’d think
    this herb could help clear red eyes and it has been
    traditionally used as a herbal treatment in a tea

  • Calendula and chamomile. These herbs are said to
    have anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties.

  • Barberry, oregon grape and goldenseal. Herbs like
    barberry, Oregon grape and goldenseal all contain
    berberine, which has antimicrobial and antibacterial
    properties and is used as treatment for
    conjunctivitis in Germany.

Be careful about the sterility of the herbal tea compress
you use. If your compress isn’t sterile, you risk further

Bee Propolis Clears Your Eyes?

According to a 1985 study from Romania (led by
Popescu, Palos, and others) bee propolis, a sticky
substance bees gather up from trees, sap and other
plant sources, is a helpful treatment for red eyes from
conjunctivitis. However, with limited additional evidence
and concerns about sterility when applying the
substance to the eye, this bee-assisted treatment may
not be the best for your red eyes.

Vitamins C and E Are a Helpful Treatment for Red Eyes

When the Vitamins C and E are taken together with
standard treatment they can pack a powerful punch
against inflammtion of the middle layer of your eye
called "uveitis".

This is according to 1999 research from the Eye
Hospital, Rotterdam, Netherlands which carried out a
double-blind trial of 145 people who took either a
placebo or vitamin C (500mg twice daily) and vitamin E
(100mg twice daily) in addition to their regular

Those taking the Vitamins C and E had better visual
acuity at the end of the eight-week study – researchers
think the antioxidants increase eye health and help
recovery from uveitis.

Foods rich in Vitamin C include bell peppers (these have
more Vitamin C than oranges), kiwis and of course
oranges, lemons and other citrus fruits.

An ounce of almonds provides 34% of your daily
recommended value of Vitamin E. Other foods rich in
Vitamin E include wheat germ oil (100% of the daily
recommended value), corn, and various fortified cereals
and foods.

Whether other antioxidants will also help clear your red
eyes, like beta-carotene, citrus bioflavonoids, selenium
and vitamin A, is debatable.

Turmeric Treats Red Eyes Associated with Uveitis

One 1999 study from the Department of Ophthalmology,
K.G. Medical College, India made a surprising discovery,
considering the spiciness of the herb in question.
Researchers found an antioxidant made from turmeric
was useful in treating red eyes associated with uveitis.
Although the study lacked a placebo test group, the herb
is worth considering in a preparation (not applied
directly to the eye).

Omega-6 Fatty Acids Help Treat Red Eyes

Sjögren’s Syndrome is an autoimmune condition where
the immune system negatively affects the tear glands
and salivary glands.

A 2005 study from the University of Messina in Italy
found treatment with omega-6 fatty acids increased the
tear levels in 40 patients with Sjögren’s Syndrome,
which improved the signs and symptoms, including red
eyes, of the condition.

Compresses Make Your Eyes Less Red

Calm down and get your red eyes back to normal with a
cold compress. This simple remedy helps redness
disappear and also reduces fluid retention around the
eyes and swelling associated with an eye infection.

Fill a clean bowl with ice and a little water, dip a
washcloth into the bowl and squeeze to remove the
excess water. Sit back, relax and apply your compress
to closed eyes for five to 10 minutes, three or four times
a day.

According to experts, if you have blepharitis,
compresses also help.

Dietary Amino Acids Help Red Eye

A modified form of the amino acid cysteine called "N-
Acetyl Cysteine (NAC)" is believed to help the body
create an antioxidant that loosens the secretions that
block the eye and cause redness in blepharitis.

A 2002 study from SSK Okmeydani Training Hospital in
Istanbul, Turkey found N-Acetyl Cysteine at a dose of
100mg, three times a day for eight weeks brought
significant benefits to the quality of the tear film in 50
blepharitis patients.

Flaxseed Oil Helps Improve Dry and Red Eyes?

Can flaxseed oil help ease the red and dry eyes
associated with Sjogren’s syndrome? A 2007 study from
the Universidade de Brasília, Brazil says "yes".

Researchers looked at 38 patients with dry eyes and
surface inflammation and found therapy with one or two
grams of oral flaxseed oil capsules a day reduced
inflammation around the eye and redness.

Antihistamines Treat Red Eyes Due to Allergies  

When the cause of your red eyes is an allergic reaction,
your relief could come from antihistamines. Over-the-
counter antihistamine eye drops are available which
control the irritation and itching associated with allergies.

Antihistamine eye drops also use a vasoconstrictor to
shrink swollen blood vessels, thereby reducing the
redness. Be careful – these “red eye reducers” can
cause rebound redness. When the effect of the drops
wears off the blood vessels can dilate much more. Don’t
overuse and seek advice if your red eyes do not clear up.


What to Eat for Healthy Eyes

How High Blood Pressure Affects Your Eyes

Stop Night Blindness-Vitamin A Deficiency and Foods
That Help

Why Do I Feel Pain Behind My Eyes?

Foods to Lower Your Blood Pressure

Foods to Help You Control Your Blood Sugar

Ideal Breakfast for Diabetes

Ideal Breakfast for Heart Health

Are Diet Sodas Bad for Your Health?

Foods That Lower Your Blood Sugar

Sugar-The Disease Connection
Eye Color
Usually Affects
One Eye or
What You
Should Do
-Dry eye
al hemorrhage

infection or

-eye strain
from trying to

high blood
pressure can
cause red eyes
All these
usually affect
both eyes.

However, red
eyes caused
from eye strain
can affect one
eye. If the
other eye is
seeing in focus
glasses, it will
not become
If your red
eyes are
by a
discharge, you
have impaired
vision, pain in
the eye,
nausea or
vomiting, see
your doctor.

Vitamins C
and E can help
red eye
caused by

Bee propolis
can sometimes
Normally both
eyes should be
No action
White Pupil
See your
White Cloudy

-Coats' disease



-Poor nutrition

-Corneal burn
See a doctor
Brown Spots

cancer that is
very rare)

melatonin can
produce eye
See a doctor if
you also have
problems or
See a doctor
to be screened
for liver
Most cases of
pink eye are
(see Red eye
See remedies
for red eye
caused by

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind, Healthy Life

Home   >  Conditions   >
Eyes >> You Are Here
Eat for Eye Health
Remove Dark Eye Circles
Stye In Your Eye-Top Remedies
Swollen Eyelids-Causes and Remedies
Whites of Your Eyes-Remedies for
Red,Yellow, Gray and Brown Eyes

How High Blood Pressure Affects Your
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes-Lingering
Health Dangers from Volcanic Ash
Rightly or wrongly, having clear white
scleras has long been associated with
health and beauty.

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Oranges and other Vitamin C rich foods help to maintain
the health of your eyes. Try this delicious orange salad
over tri-colored greens, here topped with white balsamic
Foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids, such as salmon, help to reduce red ,
dry eyes in people with
Sjogren's disease.
Orange juice and Greek yogurt smoothie. Half a cup of
orange juice, one half a cup of Greek yogurt.  I add 2
ice cubes and a banana, oatmeal or chia seeds to bulk
up the mixture.