What Your Eye Colour Says About Your Health

Photographed by Winnie Au.
Aside from whether or not you actually need those trendy frames, doctors can learn a lot about your overall health just from looking at your eyes. Conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and even brain tumours leave their mark on your baby blues — sometimes without even affecting your vision.
In fact, your eye colour can actually be a hint about your risk for certain health problems. That certainly doesn't mean your eye colour is somehow causing those conditions — or that having a certain colour means you're definitely doomed to develop a certain problem — but knowing that colour is correlated with those issues can help you be more aware of what you're up against, and how best to stay healthy.
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Light eyes: If your eyes are blue, green, or grey, you may be at a higher risk for skin cancer than those with darker eyes, Ruth Williams, MD tells Everyday Health (though those with dark eyes also need to be careful about sunscreen use and getting regular mole checks with a derm). You're also more likely to develop age-related macular degeneration, one of the most common causes of vision loss. But you're at a lower risk for cataracts and vitiligo.
Dark eyes: If your eyes are brown or hazel, research suggests that you're more likely to have cataracts later in your life than those with lighter eyes. You're also more likely to develop vitiligo, a condition in which some of your melanin cells stop working properly which leaves you with patches of skin without pigment. On the flip side, you're less likely to develop skin cancer and macular degeneration.
Changing colours: In some cases, a sudden change in eye colour can be a signal of a serious health issue. If your eyes are suddenly red, for instance, that's a sign of irritation, infection, or allergies. And if the whites of your eyes turn yellow, that's a classic indication of jaundice: meaning you need medical attention ASAP.
Of course, you should check in with your doc any time you're concerned about a potential health issue — whether or not your eyes are your clue.
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