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Yellow Eyes and Sickle Cell

Go the mirror. Look at your eyes. Your sclera (the white part around your pupil) might be white, or it might be varied shades of yellow. This is as a result of Jaundice, and many sickle cell patients have yellow eyes.

Jaundice, also referred to as icterus, is the yellow staining of the skin and sclerae (the whites of the eyes) by abnormally high blood levels of the bile pigment, bilirubin. The yellowing extends to other tissues and body fluids and also may turn the urine dark.

So what happens in sickle cell patients that gives us yellow eyes so much of the time?

It all starts and ends with the red blood cells. When red cells die, they are broken down and destroyed by the body, broken down into base parts and sent for either excretion or recycling. This is a normal process that leaks hemoglobin into the blood. The hemoglobin is converted to bilirubin so that it can be excreted by the body. However, bilirubin is not water soluble and  must be mixed with other substances to make it disposable. The liver modifies bilirubin into bile, and then the bile goes to the intestines, is converted by bacteria to urobilirubin and is then excreted in stool (this is what makes poop brown) or in urine.

The average healthy red cell lives about 90-120 days. The average sickle cell lives about 10-12 days. So with sickle cell patients, the volume of cells being destroyed, repackaged and dumped is exponentially greater than those who do not have sickle cells. As a result, the system becomes overloaded and sometimes, the bilirubin just keeps floating around and around in the blood until your liver is able to convert and excrete it. In light skinned people, there might be a yellow tinge to their skin. For those of a darker persuasion, the yellowing is only noted in the sclerae of the eyes and sometimes in the fingernail beds.

Even those who get regular blood transfusions are prone to jaundice. This is because with blood transfusions, hemolysis (cell death), occurs with the red blood cells that are transfused into you. Anytime red blood cells are manipulated, some of them die. There is much manipulation from getting the blood from the donor, processing it, sterilizing it, storage, transferring and even infusing it into you.  So even if you get transfused with a fresh bag of blood, there are still dead cells floating in there that your body has to convert and excrete. If you get several units, this could lead to a backup of your system.

If your liver is unable to deal with the overload, or you have a damaged liver from medications, vaso-occlusive crises, hepatitis or other conditions, the jaundice might overwhelm your system and lead to other complications like sepsis (infection), cholangitis, biliary cirrhosis, pancreatitis, coagulopathy, renal and liver failure.

One day, I was walking across my college campus and a lovely woman stopped me. “Excuse me, can I ask you a personal question?” When I said yes, she asked me if I had sickle cell disease. I was shocked and surprised, and immediately asked her, “How did you know?” To which, she told me that it was by my yellow eyes. Yellow eyes, which I had always thought were an anomaly served as an external identifier of having sickle cell disease.

Since then, I look at my eyes every morning. The shades of yellow tell me about what’s going on in my body. I always have some shade of yellow, but the more yellow my eyes, are, the more prone I am to having a full blown crises. Also, when I just get transfused, my eyes are yellow for several weeks until my body processes the blood.

So how do you get rid of yellow eyes and jaundice?

The first line of defense is to drink a lot of water. Hydrating your system will help dilute the bilirubin and get rid of other waste products in your system via the kidneys, leaving the liver with less work to do.

The second important thing is to ensure you have a healthy liver. The liver is one of the most important organs in the body, and with sickle cell patients, we must love and care for our livers. All foods, medications and drugs that you take are broken down by the liver, so before you pop the pill or eat that French fry; think of the work your liver must do to excrete it.

  • Vitamins A and D are excreted by the liver, so take only the recommended daily requirement and no more.
  • Ensure that you take only medications that are not harmful to the liver. Tylenol is broken down by the liver, so use with discretion.
  • At your next doctor appointment, ask for her to draw your AST/ALT (liver enzyme) levels so you know how damaged or awesome your liver is.
  • Stay away from alcohol because this is extremely harmful to your liver (isn’t good for sickle cell anyway).
  • Have a low fat diet. Fatty deposits can attach to your liver, making it inefficient, unable to do its work, and…well fat;) So stick to a healthy diet.
  • Watch your protein intake. The liver is in charge of processing protein, and a diet high in protein can overload the liver. Dairy and vegetarian proteins are easier to process than meat proteins, so choose wisely.
  • Stay away from over-processed foods. The chemicals in processed, canned, pickled, packaged foods have to be broken down by the liver, so try to stick to fresh, whole, organic and natural foods as much as possible.
  • Beware of your herbal remedies. Plants of Senecio, Crotalaria, and Heliotopium families are hepato-toxic (harmful to the liver). Plus chaparral, germander, comfrey, mistletoe, skullcap, margosa oil, mate tea, Gordolobo yerba tea, pennyroyral and Jin Blu Huan.

Foods Recommended to Reduce Jaundice:

For Your Juicing try: Beets, gooseberry, ripe banana, sugar cane juice with half a lemon, lime juice, ginger juice, tomato juice, or barley water

For Your Teas, boil and steep: Bitter leaves like karela, luffa, lemon leaves, radish leaves, or 2 teaspoons of oregano for 10 minutes

For Your Snacks try: Almonds, dates, cardamoms, prunes

Reference:
Fauci, Anthony S., et al. Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine. 17th ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2008.

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About Author

Sickle Cell Warrior

Sickle Cell Warrior

Tosin is dedicated to perpetuating healthy and positive messages about sickle cell. Although sickle cell is a subject often taboo in the communities this condition is most prevalent, Tosin's message is that sickle cell is not something to be ashamed of and you can live a rich and fulfilling life with sickle cell. Sickle cell warriors are the most amazing people in the world, with a great fortitude for compassion, willpower and strength.

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141 Comments

  1. j.lord
    j.lord August 25, 06:05

    they say our life is short how true is that

  2. Uche
    Uche September 03, 13:23

    Thanks for complementing me, I also appreciate your calls. You can still watsapp or call me for easy communication. 07069628646

  3. Jumoke
    Jumoke September 06, 22:56

    Great news warriors!……..What if I tell you, you can now achieve your long desired white eyes and jaundice free skin? Statistics I have shows that over 40% of the SC patients I have are more worried about their yellow eyes than the painful crises, with about 33% as adult patients. I started my own treatment with the NEW product outcome of a very intensified jaundice treatment herbs in May,2015 and I can bodly say I now have a whiter eyes that is worthy to be announced and proud of. Do you desire same or want to know more about living a crises free life? Contact me today and I will be glad to help , 08032239639 or 08022222173(whatsapp), email : lajumoke001@yahoo.com. The product can also help hepatitis patient and trust me its completely easy to use.

  4. Uche
    Uche September 17, 05:36

    For solamin
    Address-Esoma Herbal Research institute plot B141 Kuchiyako 111 layout,Kuje Abuja
    Phone no- 07033773350,07055996641,08037868209
    Email-esomasherbal@yahoo.com
    Sales point-Mbouty plaza,Marcus Garvey street off 5th Avenue,opposite unity school,Gwarinpa Abuja

    N/B-they deliver anywhere around the globe

  5. kojo k
    kojo k September 27, 16:19

    Please I am in Ghana, How and Where can I get solamin to buy for my yellow eyes

  6. sheshe
    sheshe September 28, 14:27

    Hi I have a 4year old boy with SS disease. God has been very good to him because he hardly gets sick. The only problem I have with him is the yellow on his and now some people are beginning to notice and I hate it. I was reaching on the internet where I came across the article about Solamin. I called the London # and the lady will be mailing it for me by this week. I am so exited for my son because kids are so cruel already and I don’t want anything to make him feel bad about himself. It is very nice to have to have a blog for people with this terrible disease. Its nice to share stories and give each other advice. Once I start my son on it I will let you guys know how its working for him.

  7. bella
    bella October 02, 11:41

    Any news abt solamin

  8. Sickle Cell Warrior
    Sickle Cell Warrior Author October 05, 12:20

    @Sheila, keep us posted! Hope your son is doing well. x

  9. Alicia
    Alicia October 11, 23:56

    FLAWDA::BABii YES, a person with slicke cell anemia (SCA) does provide some protection against getting malaria. Only in some individuals do malaria episodes progress to severe life-threatening disease, while in the majority the episodes are self-limiting. This is partly because of host genetic factors such as the slicke cell gene. The slicke cell gene is caused by a single amino acid mutation. Inheritance of this mutated gene from both parents leads to slicke cell disease and people with this disease have shorter life expectancy. On the contrary, individuals who are carriers for the slicke cell disease (with one slicke gene and one normal hemoglobin gene, also known as slicke cell trait) have some protective advantage against malaria. As a result, the frequencies of slicke cell carriers are high in malaria-endemic areas. Most early studies of the connection between slicke cell trait and malaria allowed us to investigate this connection. The slicke cell trait provides 60% protection against overall mortality. Most of this protection occurs between 2-16 months of life, before the onset of clinical immunity in areas with intense transmission of malaria.

  10. vivian
    vivian October 13, 02:25

    Am a nigerian teenager ….female…am healthy an ss tho but my only problem is ma yellow eyes wich arose question…any drug yet pls

  11. Samoski or kindlover
    Samoski or kindlover October 18, 02:28

    Your comment..pls pls pls i wnt hide am a sc carrier hw cn i gt ride of dis yellowness of my eyes pls i need help. You cn call me on dis num 08103208223. God bless you as you call

  12. Kike
    Kike October 19, 05:47

    I’m also interested in any supplements that can reduce the yellow eyes and also reduce the crisis. Pls how Can igo about it?

  13. Geof
    Geof November 12, 09:55

    my son is ss and in High school,he has yellow eyes and wants to change school becoz the other students are intimidating him.am from kenya.How can get salonin

  14. ebay
    ebay December 09, 11:17

    Pls hw can my eyes b white cos am much worried of my eyes than d crisis

  15. traacy
    traacy December 29, 09:16

    I am a teenager frm nigeria and I have sickle cell disease my problem is by yellow eyes and potruded stomach. What can I do about it? It is so embarrassing to. Be stopped on the road by strangers Askng me my if am an ss

  16. Garnett
    Garnett January 05, 04:31

    Im 30years old and my yellow eyes is my main issue,how can get rid of my yellow eyes? My eye is yellow due to sickle cell disease, I born with that health problm,I need help I have yellow eyes since I was 6years old age now Im 30years old.I will appreciate if you help.Thank you anteciaption

  17. Garnett
    Garnett January 05, 04:50

    Im 30 years old age and have yellow eye due to sickle cell disease(SCD).And my eyes is yellow since I was 6years old age now still the same I cnt cope with the yellow issue,I need help Please, how can I get treat Please thank you anticipation

  18. Sheshe
    Sheshe January 08, 03:34

    Hi guys, the Solamin I ordered for my son came a couple of months ago. I give it To him everyday. I was also told by Dr. Solomon who is the founder of Solamine to give him sugar cane juice as much as I can to prevent the yellowing of the eyes. I have to say I have seen major changes in my 4yr old son. He has so much energy, and he doesn’t complain of pain. His eyes are also not yellow anymore. I will be taking him for some blood work in a few days and I can’t wait to see when his results will be. I will keep you guys posted.

  19. aremu
    aremu March 06, 12:07

    My two year old is a sufferer and with big stomach I feel so embarrassed when people ask me about his big stomach.i cry all day to change his story,a bit relieve with this post.can anyone tell me d cause of his bulging stomach

  20. O.b
    O.b March 08, 14:47

    Hi I’ve been trying the solamin for about 3 months and I see no changes,and I asked the person that sold them to me if my eyes will get white and he said no the solamin doesn’t help with that.

  21. blezy
    blezy March 10, 09:29

    Am Blezzy from Kenya. How can I get that remedy for yellow eyes. Pleased help. Call or WhatsApp me on 0707349384. Your help will be my pleasure.

  22. lara
    lara April 17, 10:28

    for years i suffered from jaundice i was shy and with drawn and wanted to kill myself!
    one time my billirubin was a 9.0 this was during my pregnancy so you can just imagine my eyes looked like they were on fire. i tried everything from shades, to contacts. it was not until i turned 29 and i was advised by my NEW doctors in a new state to start using hydroxyurea they started me on 4 pills a day and with in 2 weeks my eyes were the whitest i have ever seen them in my life. i cried! because i could no make eye contact with people. and i was also feeling better. it’s been 4yrs since i first started on it, i went from being in the hospital once a month to only 3 times in 4yrs! i know not every one likes hydroxyurea but i have had nothing but postive results. now my long natural hair has fallen out a bit and it not to the middle of my back anymore, but i don’t care because my eyes are whiter and i feel much better. try hydroxyurea and see if it helps to clear your yellow eyes. make sure to still drink plenty of water and take care of your self. good luck and God bless you all.

  23. Sickle Cell Warrior
    Sickle Cell Warrior Author April 17, 21:01

    @Lara, that is such great advice. I noticed my eyes cleared up with Hydrea too.

  24. Sickle Cell Warrior
    Sickle Cell Warrior Author April 17, 21:15

    @OB, thanks for letting us know. What about your sickle cell? Did the Solamin improve your pain and crisis?>

  25. Sickle Cell Warrior
    Sickle Cell Warrior Author April 17, 21:16

    @Aremu, it’s common in those with sickle cell. Please don’t cry about it anymore. He is a sickle cell warrior! Our organs work harder to process all the damaged sickled red blood cells so like any muscle they get enlarged. I have always had a round stomach and I’m proud of it because it means that my body is still working and I am ALIVE!

  26. Sickle Cell Warrior
    Sickle Cell Warrior Author April 17, 21:30

    @Garnett, Hydroxyurea

  27. zee
    zee June 30, 06:34

    Your comment..i. am an SC I had 3 miscarriage due to low pvc can anybody help me out

  28. Lucia
    Lucia July 04, 14:20

    Hi. I have lost a sister some years ago cause she was SS and now my lil bro is also SS. He is 8years old now and I cry every time I remember his health issues pls I would be the happiest person on earth to see that he lives long. How can I get this drugs u talking about to keep him healthy. I stay in Abuja u can just text me an address or tell me where I can get this drugs. 08163094941

  29. Ewura
    Ewura July 12, 03:40

    Please where can I get solamin to buy in Ghana

  30. Sickle Cell Warrior
    Sickle Cell Warrior Author July 14, 13:19

    @Zee, not sure what that is, but try to connect with your OBGYN. They may be able to give you advice and help. You may need to have blood transfusions throughout your pregnancy to keep the baby (this is what happened to me). Don’t give up on your dream to have a baby. And if you try again and still don’t carry to term, look into adoption. You can still be a mom even though you didn’t give birth. Motherhood is loving someone more than you love yourself. Any woman can do that.

  31. Natasha
    Natasha July 17, 21:48

    Pls how effective is this solamin. I feel so embarrassed when pple ask me if my three year old daughter is Ok, and why does she have yellow eyes. She doesn’t fall sick regularly.How can I get the solamin in lagos

  32. Tosin
    Tosin August 24, 12:08

    I am pregnant, my parents must know ….atleast not yet. what can I do. I have stopped all my pain killers for now, but i am in pain.

  33. Tee luv
    Tee luv August 26, 06:00

    pls how much will hydroxyurea cost me? I luv dis page, it gives me more courage that I can face the challenges .

  34. Sickle Cell Warrior
    Sickle Cell Warrior Author September 16, 11:31

    @TeeLuv, your insurance should cover it if you are in a Westernized country. In Nigeria, they give it at LUTH and IHI.

  35. Sickle Cell Warrior
    Sickle Cell Warrior Author September 16, 11:34

    @Tosin, you need to go see a high risk OBGYN for your pregnancy. You also need to see a hematologist to monitor your sickle cell. Together, these doctors can come up with a plan to address your pain and ensure you have a safe delivery. Tell your parents so they can also offer their support

  36. Immamaria
    Immamaria September 28, 17:42

    I have a 6 year old son, what can boost his PCV please

  37. ovico
    ovico October 19, 13:00

    I am a sickle cell patient, i have been having this hotness of the eye and fatigue every morning I wake up,pls give advice on what to do to stop this problem

  38. ovico
    ovico October 19, 13:07

    Pls were can I get hydroxyurea to buy

  39. trish
    trish November 17, 19:59

    Am augandan with sc, I HV yellowish eyes. for the past yrs I used not to fall sick ad was told am a carrier but now days I HV a lot of criss. me who z in Uganda how can I deal with d criss ad the yellowish. the eyes have made me hate my self

  40. SS Mama
    SS Mama January 12, 01:22

    Has anybody tried Stem Cell Therapy for SCD? If yes, any reviews?

  41. Stanley
    Stanley January 25, 19:24

    Pls is this site still functioning now?

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