Why Do Blind Eyes Turn White? Understanding the Science Behind the Color Change

Have you ever wondered why blind eyes turn white? It’s a curious phenomenon that people often notice when they encounter someone who is visually impaired. The white coloration is actually caused by changes in the eye that occur as a result of blindness. While it may seem startling or unsettling at first glance, there’s actually a scientific reason why this happens.

Blindness can cause a range of physical and functional changes in the eye. When the eye is unable to process visual information, it can lead to a loss of pigment in the iris and changes in the structure of the eye. This can result in a cloudy or hazy appearance, which is what causes the white coloration that many people associate with blindness. While it can be a visible sign of a person’s disability, it’s important to remember that there are many different types of blindness, and not all of them present with this particular symptom.

Understanding the physiology of blindness and its effects on the eye is an important step in increasing awareness and understanding of this often-misunderstood condition. While the white appearance of blind eyes may be a small detail, it can have a big impact on how people view and interact with those who are visually impaired. By learning more about the causes and effects of blindness, we can better support and include individuals with disabilities in our communities.

Anatomy of the Eye

The human eye is a remarkably complex organ that is responsible for our sense of sight. Composed of various structures that work together seamlessly, the eye enables us to perceive the world around us in incredible detail. Here are the key components of the eye:

  • Sclera: The white outer layer of the eye, which provides it with structural integrity and protection.
  • Cornea: A clear dome-shaped structure at the front of the eye that helps to focus light.
  • Iris: The colored part of the eye that regulates the amount of light that enters the eye.
  • Pupil: A small opening in the center of the iris that allows light to enter the eye.
  • Lens: A flexible and transparent structure located behind the iris that also helps to focus light.
  • Retina: A thin, light-sensitive layer at the back of the eye that contains millions of photoreceptor cells that convert light into electrical signals that are sent to the brain via the optic nerve.
  • Optic Nerve: A bundle of nerve fibers that carry visual information from the retina to the brain.

Collectively, these structures work together to form a complex system that enables us to see the world around us.

Causes of Blindness

Blindness can be caused by various factors such as injury, genetics, disease, and age. Some specific causes of blindness are:

  • Cataracts: A cataract occurs when the lens of the eye becomes cloudy and blurry. This can be due to aging, injury, or genetics.
  • Glaucoma: Glaucoma is a group of diseases that can damage the optic nerve resulting in blindness. It is often caused by high pressure inside the eye.
  • Diabetic retinopathy: This is a complication of diabetes that can cause damage to the blood vessels in the retina, causing them to swell and leak. This can lead to blurred vision, and in severe cases, blindness.

Other causes of blindness include:

  • Macular degeneration
  • Retinitis pigmentosa
  • Optic neuritis
  • Injury or trauma to the eye
  • Infections such as measles or rubella during pregnancy

The causes of blindness can vary depending on age. In children, blindness can be caused by genetic disorders such as retinoblastoma or inheritance of faulty genes. In adults, age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, and cataracts are common culprits.

Why Do Blind Eyes Turn White?

Blind eyes often turn white due to a condition called leukocoria. This condition is caused by the loss of pigmentation in the retina, allowing light to be reflected off the inner surfaces of the eye. As a result, the eye appears white or hazy in a flash photograph, hence the term “white-out.”

Another reason why blind eyes may appear white is due to the development of cataracts. Cataracts can cause the lens of the eye to become cloudy and opaque, which can lead to a change in the color of the eye from its natural hue to a cloudy white or gray.

Causes of White Eyes in Blindness Symptoms
Leukocoria White or hazy appearance in a flash photograph
Cataracts Cloudiness or opaqueness of the lens, resulting in a cloudy white or gray appearance

In some cases, a white or hazy appearance of the eye can be a sign of an underlying medical condition such as retinoblastoma or retinal detachment. It’s important to seek medical attention if you notice any changes to your eyes, including a change in color or sudden loss of vision.

Types of Blindness

Blindness is the condition of being unable to see or having a visual impairment. There are several types of blindness, each with different causes and characteristics. Some of the most common types of blindness include:

  • Complete blindness: This refers to the complete loss of vision in both eyes.
  • Partial blindness: Also known as low vision, this refers to a significant impairment of vision in one or both eyes.
  • Color blindness: This is a condition where a person is unable to distinguish between certain colors.
  • Night blindness: This refers to poor vision in low light conditions, such as at night.
  • Blindness caused by eye diseases: This can include conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration.
  • Blindness caused by injuries: This can include injuries to the eye, optic nerves, or brain.

Why Do Blind Eyes Turn White?

When a person loses their sight, their eyes may turn white or cloudy in appearance. This is due to a condition known as phthisis bulbi, which is a shrinking and disintegration of the eyeball that occurs after it has been damaged beyond repair. The loss of blood flow to the eye causes the tissue to die off, leaving a white or opaque appearance in the eye. Phthisis bulbi can occur due to a variety of factors, including diseases, trauma, and surgical procedures.

In addition to phthisis bulbi, there are several other conditions that can cause the eyes to turn white. These include:

Condition Description
Cataracts A cloudy or opaque area in the lens of the eye that can cause blindness if left untreated.
Retinoblastoma A rare form of eye cancer that can cause the eyes to turn white or red.
Ashkenazi syndrome A genetic disorder that can cause the eyes to turn white in infancy or early childhood.
Leukocoria A condition where there is a white reflection in the pupil of the eye, which can be a sign of several eye diseases.

If you or a loved one is experiencing vision loss or any other eye-related issues, it is important to see an eye doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Blindness and Eye Color

One of the most striking features of a blind person’s eyes is their white appearance. The medical term for this is leukocoria and is caused by a variety of factors that contribute to blindness. While the white appearance of the eyes can be unsettling for some, it is simply a physical manifestation of the underlying conditions that caused the blindness.

  • Opaque Eye Tissue: One of the main reasons why blind eyes turn white is due to the clouding or opacity of the tissues in the eye. When the eye cannot see, it compensates by producing more cells in the lens, which can then become opaque. This leads to the white appearance that is so characteristic of blind eyes.
  • Retinal Detachment: Another cause of leukocoria is retinal detachment. When the retina, the part of the eye that converts light into signals that get sent to the brain, becomes detached, it can cause the appearance of the eye to change. This can lead to a white or cloudy appearance and is a severe condition that requires prompt medical attention.
  • Cataracts: A cataract is a condition where the lens of the eye becomes cloudy, leading to a decrease in vision. While it is not a direct cause of blindness, it is a common condition that can contribute to the weakening of vision. In cases where this condition is left untreated, the eye can become completely white, leading to the appearance of blindness.

It is important to note that not all blind people will have a white appearance in their eyes. Some may have other physical manifestations such as a misalignment of the eyes or an unusual pupil shape. However, the white appearance is one of the most common and is an indication of the underlying medical conditions that led to the blindness.

For those who are wondering about the specific causes and effects of blindness, there are plenty of available resources online that can provide further information. Understanding the different factors that contribute to white eyes can help provide a greater understanding of this unique and often-misunderstood condition.

Causes of Leukocoria in Blind Eyes
Opaque Eye Tissue Clouding of the tissues in the eye due to a compensation mechanism of producing more cells in the lens of the eye.
Retinal Detachment Separation of the retina from the back of the eye, leading to a change in the appearance.
Cataracts Clouding of the lens of the eye, leading to a decrease in vision and the possibility of a white appearance.

Overall, the white appearance of blind eyes is simply a physical manifestation of the conditions that led to blindness. While it may be unsettling for some, understanding the underlying causes can help provide clarity and insight into this unique and complex condition.

Leukocoria and White Eyes

Leukocoria, commonly known as “white eye,” is a condition where the white part of the eye appears white and opaque instead of the normal translucent white color. In individuals with normal vision, the color of the eye is characterized by the iris’s pigmentation, while in those with leukocoria, the eye appears to be filled with a white mass resembling cataracts.

  • Causes of Leukocoria: Leukocoria can be caused by numerous factors, including cataracts, tumors, infections, retinal detachment, and refractive errors. However, the most common cause of this condition is retinoblastoma, a type of cancerous tumor that affects the retina, the part of the eye responsible for detecting light and colors.
  • Symptoms of Leukocoria: The most typical symptom of leukocoria is the appearance of a white mass inside the eye. Other symptoms may include redness, swelling, and pain in the eye.
  • Treatment for Leukocoria: Treatment options for leukocoria depend on the underlying cause. For instance, retinoblastoma may require surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy, while cataracts and refractive errors can be corrected with glasses or contact lenses. Prompt diagnosis and treatment of leukocoria can help prevent vision loss.

The following table summarizes the common causes of leukocoria:

Causes of Leukocoria Description
Retinoblastoma A rare form of cancer that affects the retina and can cause blindness if left untreated. It is the most common cause of leukocoria in children under five years old.
Cataracts A condition where the lens inside the eye becomes cloudy or opaque, causing blurred vision.
Retinal detachment A condition where the retina becomes separated from the underlying tissue, leading to vision loss.
Infections Eye infections such as toxoplasmosis, cytomegalovirus, and rubella can cause leukocoria.
Refractive errors An eye condition where the shape of the eye prevents light from focusing correctly on the retina, leading to blurred vision.

If you or your child experiences white eyes or any other symptoms of leukocoria, it is crucial to seek medical attention. Early detection and treatment can help preserve vision and prevent further complications.

Cataracts and White Eyes

One of the most common reasons for white eyes is the development of cataracts. Cataracts are a clouding of the eye’s natural lens, which is normally clear. The clouding of the lens can lead to visual impairment and can cause blindness if left untreated. Cataracts can develop in one or both eyes, and typically occur in people over the age of 40.

  • Cataracts can be caused by a variety of factors including age, genetics, exposure to ultraviolet radiation, smoking, and certain medical conditions such as diabetes.
  • Early symptoms of cataracts can include blurred vision, halos around lights, double vision in one eye, and increased sensitivity to light and glare.
  • Cataracts can be treated through surgery, which involves the removal of the clouded lens and the replacement with an artificial lens. Cataract surgery is one of the most common surgeries performed in the United States, with over 3 million surgeries performed annually.

Cataracts can cause the eyes to turn white because the clouding of the lens prevents light from passing through the eye. This results in the reflection of light back out of the eye, giving the appearance of a white or grayish-white pupil.

The following table provides a summary of cataracts and their causes:

Cause Description
Age-related Cataracts caused by the natural aging process
Congenital Cataracts present at birth or in early childhood
Traumatic Cataracts caused by injury to the eye
Radiation-induced Cataracts caused by exposure to ionizing radiation
Corticosteroid-induced Cataracts caused by long-term use of corticosteroid medications

If you suspect you have cataracts or are experiencing symptoms of cataracts, it is important to consult with an eye doctor. Early detection and treatment can prevent further vision loss and improve overall quality of life.

Glaucoma and White Eyes

Glaucoma occurs when the optic nerve that connects the eye to the brain is damaged, usually due to high pressure within the eye. This condition can lead to blindness if left untreated. One of the most well-known symptoms of glaucoma is the appearance of white eyes. Here’s why:

  • The pressure within the eye can cause the cornea, the clear outer layer of the eye, to bulge forward. This can create a whitish appearance in the eye, known as corneal haze.
  • Another possible cause of white eyes in glaucoma patients is the formation of cataracts, which are cloudy areas in the lens of the eye.
  • In rare cases, glaucoma can cause a condition called phthisis bulbi, in which the eye shrinks and becomes white and shrunken due to damage to the eye tissues.

It’s important to note that not all cases of glaucoma result in white eyes, and not all cases of white eyes are indicative of glaucoma. However, if you do notice this symptom, it’s crucial to see an eye doctor as soon as possible to determine the underlying cause.

Here is a table summarizing some of the common causes and symptoms of glaucoma:

Common Causes of Glaucoma Common Symptoms of Glaucoma
High eye pressure Blurred vision
Family history of glaucoma Halos around lights
Age over 40 Loss of peripheral (side) vision
History of eye injury or surgery Eye pain

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s essential to seek medical attention right away to prevent further damage to your eyesight.

Retinoblastoma and White Eyes

Retinoblastoma is a cancerous tumor that develops in the retina of the eye, and it is most commonly found in children. One of the common symptoms of this disease is that the eyes turn white. The cancerous cells grow and multiply, filling up the pupil and causing the affected eye to appear white. This effect is due to the way light reflects on the eye.

Retinoblastoma affects about one in every 15,000-20,000 live births. It can arise in one or both eyes, and it can be inherited in some cases. Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial for the best possible outcome, as the disease can spread to other tissues and parts of the body if left untreated.

Why Do Blind Eyes Turn White?

  • When the retina is damaged or destroyed, the eye cannot absorb light, which leads to light reflecting off of the white sclera.
  • The lack of melanin in the retina, combined with the reflection of light off of the sclera, causes the eye to appear white.
  • Other causes of white eyes include cataracts, glaucoma, and certain infections.

Treatment for Retinoblastoma

The treatment for retinoblastoma depends on the extent of the disease and whether it has spread. In some cases, the tumor can be treated with radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or cryotherapy. In more severe cases, the eye may need to be surgically removed.

If retinoblastoma is caught early, the chances of successful treatment are much higher. Regular eye exams, especially for children, are important for early detection and treatment of this disease. Parents with a family history of retinoblastoma or other eye diseases should be particularly vigilant and attentive to their children’s eye health.


Retinoblastoma is a rare but serious disease that can cause the eyes to turn white. Early detection and treatment are critical to prevent the cancer from spreading and to preserve the affected eye’s function and appearance. If you or someone you know experiences vision changes or other symptoms, seek medical attention promptly to rule out potential eye diseases, including retinoblastoma.

Causes of White Eyes Symptoms
Retinoblastoma White appearance of the affected eye
Cataracts Cloudy or blurred vision
Glaucoma Eye pain, vision loss, halos around lights
Infections Redness, itching, discharge, pain

Regular eye exams can help detect and treat these and other eye diseases. Maintain a healthy lifestyle and protect your eyes from injury and UV radiation to reduce your risk of developing eye diseases.

Eye Injuries and White Eyes

Eye injuries can also lead to white eyes. When the eye experiences trauma, the conjunctiva (the clear membrane that covers the white part of the eye) becomes irritated and inflamed. This inflammation causes the blood vessels in the eye to dilate and become more visible, giving the eye a red or pinkish appearance. However, over time, these blood vessels may become scarred and lose their color, resulting in a white or cloudy appearance.

  • Blunt force trauma: Injuries to the head or face, such as being hit by a baseball or being in a car accident, can cause blunt force trauma to the eye. This can lead to a ruptured globe (a tear or hole in the eyeball), which can cause the eye to become white and blind.
  • Chemical burns: Exposure to chemicals such as bleach, ammonia, or acids can cause severe damage to the eye. Chemical burns can lead to scarring and clouding of the cornea and conjunctiva, resulting in white eyes.
  • Foreign objects: Foreign objects such as metal shards, glass fragments, or even contact lenses that become stuck under the eyelid can scratch the surface of the eye, leading to scarring and white eyes.

Treatments for Eye Injuries and White Eyes

If you suspect that you have suffered an eye injury, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. A doctor or eye specialist can assess the damage and recommend the appropriate treatment. Depending on the severity and cause of the injury, treatments may include:

  • Eye drops or ointments to reduce inflammation and prevent infection
  • Surgery to repair a ruptured globe or remove foreign objects
  • Corneal transplant or other procedures to restore vision in cases of severe scarring

Prevention of Eye Injuries

The best way to prevent eye injuries and white eyes is to take precautionary measures. Some tips to protect your eyes include:

Tip Description
Wear protective eyewear Whether for work or play, wearing protective eyewear such as safety glasses or goggles can prevent foreign objects from entering the eye and causing injury.
Handle chemicals with care When handling chemicals, be sure to wear protective eyewear and follow all safety precautions to prevent chemical burns.
Supervise children Children are at high risk for eye injuries. Supervise children during playtime and keep hazardous objects out of reach.

By taking steps to protect your eyes and seeking prompt medical attention for any injuries, you can prevent and treat white eyes and ensure the health of your vision.

Diabetic Retinopathy and White Eyes

One of the main causes of white eyes in people suffering from diabetes is Diabetic Retinopathy, a condition that damages the retina in the eye. When this condition is not treated, it can cause blindness and result in the white appearance of the eye.

  • Diabetic Retinopathy occurs when high blood sugar levels damage the blood vessels in the retina, causing them to leak fluid.
  • As the condition progresses, the body tries to repair the damage by forming new blood vessels in the retina. These blood vessels can be weak and leaky, which causes more harm to the retina.
  • The body then responds by creating scar tissue to stop the damage, which can pull the retina away from the eye, leading to blindness.

White eyes are one of the visible symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy, and it occurs because the damage and scarring cause the retina to become pale or whitish.

To prevent Diabetic Retinopathy, people with diabetes must work closely with their healthcare providers to manage their blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. Early detection and treatment of the condition can prevent blindness and improve overall quality of life.

Signs and Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment Options
Floaters or spots in the vision Lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise
Blurry vision Medications, such as anti-VEGF drugs
Dark or empty areas in the vision Laser therapy for sealing leaking blood vessels or shrinking abnormal blood vessels
Vision loss or blindness Surgery to remove blood or scar tissue

In conclusion, while white eyes may be a visible symptom of Diabetic Retinopathy, it is important to understand the underlying causes and seek medical treatment if any of the signs and symptoms of the condition are present. Early detection and treatment can prevent blindness and improve overall quality of life for people with diabetes.

Why do blind eyes turn white?

1. What causes blind eyes to turn white?
Blind eyes turn white due to the loss of blood flow and oxygen to the eyes resulting in the decaying of tissue.

2. Can any type of blindness cause the eyes to turn white?
Yes, any type of blindness, whether it is congenital or acquired, can cause the eyes to turn white.

3. Does the whiteness occur instantly after blindness?
No, the whiteness occurs gradually over time as the tissue of the eye begins to decay.

4. Is there any way to prevent the eyes from turning white after going blind?
Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent the eyes from turning white after going blind.

5. Can blind eyes be restored to their natural color?
No, once the eyes have turned white, they cannot be restored to their natural color.

6. Are there any health risks associated with the whiteness of blind eyes?
No, the whiteness of blind eyes is simply a result of tissue decay and does not pose any health risks.

7. Is the whiteness of blind eyes a sign of death?
No, the whiteness of blind eyes is not a sign of death, and blind individuals can continue to live healthy lives.

Thanks for reading!

I hope this article has answered your questions about why do blind eyes turn white. While there may not be a way to prevent this natural occurrence, it is important to understand and accept it as a part of the body’s process. Remember to visit us again soon for more informative articles.