What Causes the Whites of the Eyes to Turn Yellow?

According to Healthline, yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes, also referred to as “jaundice,” can be caused by a variety of factors that include alcoholic hepatitis and bile duct obstruction. Additional symptoms of alcoholic hepatitis include loss of appetite and abdominal pain. Bile duct obstruction can be caused by gallstones and infections.

WebMd explains that the eye whites turn yellow due to a buildup of bilirubin. Bilirubin is a compound that is created when hemoglobin, an oxygen-carrying molecule found in red blood cells, builds up. Yellowing of the whites of the eyes is a common symptom in individuals who suffer from cirrhosis of the liver.

According to the Mayo Clinic, yellow fever is an illness that can cause yellowing of the eyes and skin. Early signs of yellow fever include fever, headache, muscle aches, dizziness, red eyes and tongue, nausea and loss of appetite. When the illness moves into the toxic phase, symptoms include yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes, abdominal pain and vomiting, heart dysfunction, nosebleeds, decreased urination, bleeding from the eyes, delirium, seizures and coma. It is important for anyone traveling to an area where yellow fever is common to consult with a physician prior to traveling in order to ensure proper vaccinations and preventative measures.