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Ask Dr. Dan B. Your Own Question
Dr. Dan B.
Dr. Dan B., Board Certified Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 3343
Experience:  Eye surgeon experienced in cataracts, glaucoma, retina & neuro-ophthalmology
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The whites or my eyes are yellow, but only where the eyelids

Customer Question

The whites or my eyes are yellow, but only where the eyelids don't cover (exposed to air or sunlight). They are also not smooth textured like the whites are behind my eyelids. They have been this way for years. Could this be from sun exposure? What can I do to restore white, smooth, healthy & awake looking eyes? BYW I am a 44 yr old female. Thanks
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. Dan B. replied 5 years ago.
Doctor DanB : Hello and thanks for your question. Are you available to chat?
JACUSTOMER-awjh6rmm- :


Doctor DanB : Do these areas appear sort of crinkly?
JACUSTOMER-awjh6rmm- :

no, just very slightly raised & less smooth than the whites that are behind my eyelids

Doctor DanB : Most often when there are yellowish/whitish spots on the eyes, they represent a pingueculum (pinguecula is plural). These are areas of the thin, transparent skin (conjunctiva) which is over the tough, white part of the eye (sclera) that have bunched together and therefore can look raised and change in color. These are usually brought about by UV exposure (sunlight), but sometimes they are just hereditary and people can have them even if they haven't had a significant exposure to UV light over their lifetime.These spots generally lie at the edge of the white and colored parts of the eyes. Sometimes they can become inflamed and need some anti-inflammatory drops to calm down the inflammation, but for the most part they are generally innocuous. On occasion can flatten out and spread over the cornea and it is then called a pterygium. These are also generally innocuous, but can sometimes be very irritating and can affect the vision either by growing in front of the vision or changing the shape of the eye and therefore the need for glasses. Does that make sense?
Doctor DanB : Do you have any other questions about this?
JACUSTOMER-awjh6rmm- :

Yes, it makes sense...but.....the discolored parts of my sclera conform exactly to the shape of the opening of my eyelids. The edge of the discoloration is the resting place of the edge of my upper & lower lids.

JACUSTOMER-awjh6rmm- :

there is absolutely no irritation

Doctor DanB : That makes sense because this is the part of the conjunctiva that is exposed to UV light which causes this.
JACUSTOMER-awjh6rmm- :

How do I restore the whites of my eyes to normal??

Doctor DanB : It is very common that these are asymptomatic.
Doctor DanB : Unfortunately, the only way to reverse these changes is to surgically remove them.
JACUSTOMER-awjh6rmm- :

Will they continue to get worse? Is this hereditary? (I'm adopted & don't know if older generations had this) will sunglasses help?

Doctor DanB : They usually don't get significantly worse as we get older, but it's possible. It's not really an inheritable trait but one that more closely follows UV exposure.
JACUSTOMER-awjh6rmm- :

Will wearing sunglasses make a difference? Or, if I had them removed would wearing sunglasses to protect from UV exposure prevent a recurrance?

JACUSTOMER-awjh6rmm- :

Would using sunglasses be good advice to my kids if they wish to avaoid this condition?

Doctor DanB : I think that it would probably make a difference in both situations, though wearing sunglasses wouldn't necessarily reverse any of the yellowing that has already happened.
JACUSTOMER-awjh6rmm- :

What is involved (and how expensive) in the the surgery to correct & does it leave scarring?

Doctor DanB : Outpatient surgery, minimal recovery, and I have a difficult time estimating cost because this surgery is rarely done for these reasons; maybe $1500 per eye (only an educated guess).
Doctor DanB : Usually no scarring.
JACUSTOMER-awjh6rmm- :

Are there any drops that even temporarily restore a white appearance?

Doctor DanB : No, I'm sorry. there aren't.
JACUSTOMER-awjh6rmm- :

would sunglasses have prevented this?

Doctor DanB : Its possible, yes, but there's no scientific way to say absolutely.
Doctor DanB : Do you have any other questions about this?
Doctor DanB : If not, Please help me get credit for my expertise and the time spent in answering your questions and press the ACCEPT button for this encounter; this allows part of the funds that you have deposited to the website to be released for my efforts to assist you. This does not end our conversation, however-we can continue to discuss any of your concerns without further charges until you are satisfied.Any positive feedback and/or bonus you may feel prompted to provide would be welcomed and is appreciated. Thanks for your inquiry!My opinion is solely informative and does not constitute a formal medical opinion or recommendation. For a formal medical opinion and/or recommendation you must see an eye doctor.
JACUSTOMER-awjh6rmm- :

Originally you described these as "spots (that) generally lie at the edge og the white and colored parts of the eyes" What I have is not a "spot" but the entire exposed area of the white of my eye ...are we talking about the same thing?

JACUSTOMER-awjh6rmm- :

Are you still there?

JACUSTOMER-awjh6rmm- :

Yes, I posted another question........have you stopped answering?

JACUSTOMER-awjh6rmm- :

You seem to be refusing to finish your job...........No, I do not accept your incomplete answer......dissapointng service.

Doctor DanB : I'm sorry. I had to step away for a few minutes. Let me read your question.
Doctor DanB : I believe we are talking about the same thing, yes, but since I can't examine, I cannot say for absolute certain. But in someone your age, this is by far the most likely thing.