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Eye and Vision Care

Dramatic Change in Eye Color

11/04/2009

Question:

Hi. I am writing to you out of concern for my dad. A bit of history. He is a 67 year old who has had 2 strokes, bladder cancer and suffers from seizures. He takes dilantin and also a blood thinner. 12 years ago he had a succesful cataract surgery on both eyes. 7 years ago he suffered a blow to the head which detached his retina. Surgery to re-attach the retina was unsuccesful. He claims he sees nothing in the eye. Recently (2 weeks now) I have noticed this eye which is normally very light blue (His normal eye color) has turned a very strange almost flourescent looking green. The white of this eye is red and looks irritated. He thinks this is normal and should not see a Dr. His other eye is still its normal shade of blue. Any idea of what could be happening?

Answer:

Eye color (iris pigmentation) usually does not change with age.
But I have seen color changes after inflammation inside the eye.
Your father has had a lot of eye surgeries (which are really traumatic events) that undoubtedly have caused previous inflammatory reactions which can affect iris pigmentation.

My best guess is this is what has caused his iris color to change. And as long as his vision is clear and the pressure within his eyes is normal, there is no treatment that will restore his natural iris color.

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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