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When the Whites of Your Eyes Just… Aren’t Quite White

White eyes have just about the same cosmetic priority as white teeth or unblemished skin. In fact, several surveys reveal that about 30% of people initially notice eyes when they first meet someone. While you can be a generally healthy human with stained teeth and imperfect skin, your eyes can reveal a lot about you… including your health.

First, allow us to introduce you to the sclera. The sclera is simply the medical term for “the white of the eye”. And it comes with high importance.

The sclera is four coats of protection that wrap around most of the eyeball, from the front of the beautiful colored part of the eye- the iris, to the back with sensitive optic nerves. This eye armor is no more than one millimeter thick, which amounts to the thickness of about 10 sheets of paper, layered on top of one another!

The layers of protective armor that give your eye its white color and the sclera its overall strength include randomly patterned collagen fibers and tissues called the episclera, the stroma, the lamina fusca, and the endothelium.

Typically, the entire sclera, not just one layer, changes color or accumulates spots.

Here are 4 hues to keep a lookout for along with a few reasons why:

  1. Yellow: A yellow tone brings along with it a couple of main suspicions, jaundice and “surfer’s eye”.A buildup of red blood cells that are normally filtered out by the liver can have several different causes but can trigger jaundice which often includes a yellowing of the eyes and skin. Surfer’s eye should really be given the nickname of “Outdoor A Lot Eye” as it is a sign of untreated UV damage from the sun combined with high winds or areas filled with dust.
  2. Blue: A tint of blue/gray might not be easy to detect by looking in a mirror, and often these tints are unavoidable because of long-term use of important medications.Tints of blue are still important to observe with help from your OD to consider or dismiss certain health conditions like genetic bone disease or iron deficiency.
  3. Red: Chances are we’ve all experienced eyes with a shade of red, whether it was thanks to allergies or exhaustion or any other typical culprit.
    However, it is still important to schedule an appointment as soon as possible since a red eye can also signal an infection or a broken blood vessel, especially if accompanied by discharge, pain, or blurred vision.
  4. Closeup of an eye of a black manBrown: Brown spots are on both ends of the spectrum. They range from completely harmless to life-threatening. High levels of melanin, the natural skin pigment which makes skin, hair, and the iris of your eyes a darker color can curate spots outside of the iris and within the sclera which are nothing to worry about.
    However, if a dark spot that resembles a freckle that changes over time develops during or after your 30’s, we suggest you make an appointment. These more serious brown spots are not at all melanin-related and can become cancerous if left untreated.

So, when the whites of your eyes just… aren’t quite white, give us a call at 770-860-1919! Keep note of what is accompanying your sclera color change and alert us about anything such as…

    • Blurred vision
    • Discharge
    • Pain
    • Light sensitivity
    • Swelling or bulging

…and our team at The Eye Center – Conyers will handle the process to lead your eyes—and your entire self—back to health.

This or That: Maintaining Your Eyesight

365 days can manifest a great deal that you might not be able to set your sights on quite yet. Don’t wait until you can’t see it to believe it.

Quiz yourself in a quick “This or That!” and see where you stand when it comes to maintaining your eyesight and what’s worth *looking* into for your eye health before 2022.

Getting Back to Learning Requires Healthy Vision

Fun fact: 80% of the sensory information that reaches our brain comes from our eyes.

Absolutely amazing!

With so much uncertainty as our kids, teens and young adults go back to school this fall, one thing is for sure… our eyes are remarkably important to learning. Not only does 80% of the information to our brain come from our eyes, but also 80% of learning is through our eyes.

Learning and behavioral disorders should not be impulsively assumed without investigating the full spectrum of eye health, especially since vision and eye health issues are not always obvious.

Children who can see well outside of class may still struggle with their vision while learning. Eye alignment, eye teaming, eye movement and coordination, eye focus and dry eyes all influence how we all visually perform.

Take this story, for example. A New York Times article published by Laura Novak in 2007 narrates about a young girl who was prescribed three medications for attention deficit disorder and depression only to find out later that she had been living with convergence insufficiency since birth.

Convergence insufficiency, as outlined by the Mayo Clinic, is a condition where your eyes are unable to work together when looking at nearby objects. It can cause difficulty reading, resulting in school-age children promptly deciding to close the book and take on a new task, making it understandable for a parent to conclude that attention deficit is the dilemma.

Parents and educators alike often assume that if our child passes a vision screening, they are ok. Vision screenings are not comprehensive eye exams.

Vision is a sense that is not always automatic. It develops in our formative years, between birth and eight years of age. Comprehensive eye exams can detect issues that once addressed, can have lifelong impacts. For school-aged children, the American Optometric Association recommends annual eye exams begin before 1st grade and are maintained each year thereafter.

Let’s give our children the best chance at success! Make sure you get your child’s annual eye health and vision exam checked off your list!