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Eye and Vision Care

Darkening Sclera

07/28/2009

Question:

I am a 41 yr old African american female. I`ve noticed that my sclera is starting to turn a brownish color. I understand that this can be normal, but what can I do to brighten them up?

Answer:

You are correct that as we age, pigment can be deposited in the conjunctiva (the tissue that covers the sclera) causing the "white" of the eye to appear darker. However, any noticeable change in the appearance of the eyes deserves a visit with your eye doctor to ensure that the change is due to a normal aging process.

In answer to your question, lesions that are suspected of being cancerous, or that cause eye discomfort can be surgically removed. Doctors are less likely to attempt to remove a flat pigmented area for cosmetic reasons alone. I am unaware of any other treatments to remove this pigment.

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Response by:

Andrew J Toole, OD, PhD, FAAO
Clinical Assistant Professor of Optometry
College of Optometry
The Ohio State University