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Eye and Vision Care

Loss of color in iris.....

08/10/2006

Question:

Hello, I have experienced loss of color in my eyes over the last few years. It is very noticable now... My eyes used to be dark brown and now they are more green-hazel than anything else.... I have graves diease, and exopthalmus. In 1997 I had a double orbital decompression surgery... is this a direct result from that and if so what could that mean for my sight? I have seen my regular eye doctor and she is sending me to a specialist in Jackson, MS. What should I expect? Is there a chance I will lose my vision? Thank you so much for any help you can give me.

Answer:

Lightening of the iris color is caused by a loss of pigment cells (which contain the pigment "melanin") from the back of your iris. This is usually due to trauma or infection. This is not a side effect of Grave's Disease, but could be a result of previous inflammation inside your eyes.

When your eye specialist examines you, he or she will test your pupil reactions and also your central and peripheral (side) vision. If all testing is normal now, I would not expect you to lose any of your vision in the future. However, you may become more sensitive to bright light (we call that "photophobia"), so you may need to wear dark sunglasses when you are outdoors.  

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Response by:

Robert D Newcomb, OD, MPH, FAAO Robert D Newcomb, OD, MPH, FAAO
Professor Emeritus of Clinical Optometry
College of Optometry
The Ohio State University