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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.

Related posts:

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. Betty
    Betty February 27, 17:09

    @Ayesha and @Ayobola,for those that dont live in Nigeria like the person living in New York. Can you please organise and help them out?

  2. uche
    uche March 10, 17:05

    Im not here to talk about solamin or to complain about myself but to share some tips of healthy living
    im 20year old student.precisly.doctor-in-training.dat is, im a medical student.i have a role model who is my personal doctor and he is also a sickle cell patient nd in his late 60is.
    Is not our own making dat we are ss. Is a call dat we are to fight.we are not worse.we are warriors. I know of a characteristic following ss, dat is, we lack self esteem. Nd dat is vry bad. d fact dat we hav yellow eye dosent mean we should let good opportunity falling out from us. Instead we should alway try nd help ourselves.
    ss are acedemically brillant. yes i know of dat. So wat is remining?energy!!!
    U can create ur own energy.
    Follow ur doctor directions take malaria drugs,folic acid,b complex,noni,solamin,vit e,omega3.nd help ur self wit wat u eat, rest and prevent stress.good water intake.nd enough sleep.another secret is pepper.wen having crisis tak hot water filled with pepper,it relaeses ur blood, pain reliever.nd protect urself from cold.take fruits.nd ur eyes wil never be yellow.
    Is us dat courses d yellowness of our eye.yes!!.y is it dat after having crisis our eyes clear?
    Wat u eat turns it color yelow. prevent preserved food, is bad for our system,reduce protein intake, help urself so dat ur self esteem will be ok.nd ur eyes nevr yellow
    u may not have d chance of getting solamin.take dis steps nd pray to ur God for help. He hears!!!.

  3. uche
    uche April 03, 16:56

    Stil d same uche
    talking about us.prevously i listed some steps to follow
    i want to let u know dat i nevr give my eye breathing space to turn yellow.reflectin on the knowlege i have about life span of sickle cel i can rem. Dat sickle red blood cell takes 10 to 15 days to complete its life span while nomal genotype takes 120 days. Dis cause excessive bilirubin to be over worked by d liver.
    Know dat it is not only dos dat are sicklers posses yellow eyes also people with liver problem have yellow eyes. Wen dis liver is over work it turns to jaundice. Causing yellow eyes.
    D life span of RBC of sickler associating wit liver needs to be corrected dat means u reduce liver work load by
    taking in excessive water.especially in d night
    find out wat a SAINT LEAVE(nchonwu in igbo lang) is and take a list 4 times a week dis help to clear ur yellow eyes leaving it excessivly white
    except u have malaria
    if u hav malaria no mater how u purify ur liver it will be yellow.
    Take only natural food making it 80% of ur consumtion.Tanx sickle cell warrior for creating dis net forum.

  4. CLARENCE WILLIAMS
    CLARENCE WILLIAMS April 15, 20:52

    I KNOW THE FEELING BOUT THE YELLOW EYES, MINES GET GREEN SOMETIMES TO BUT THE DOCTOR TOLD ME IT WAS CAUSE OF MY BUMIC LEVEL WAS TO HIGH… THAT’S WHY WE HAVE THEM..

  5. Adebayo
    Adebayo April 25, 09:06

    Uche pls send me your contact, I don’t know where I can get the Solamin and the Saint Leaf. You can mail send me a mail to futurester4real@gmail.com.

  6. edgeiny mbulo
    edgeiny mbulo April 26, 06:16

    i have had yellow eyes for as long as i can remember and i am 20yrs old. people notice them and get concerned. i got tested for jaundice but my results were clear (no jaundice). i get worried sometimes that i might have sickle cell cause people usually ask me if i do. would any body happen to know what causes the yellow colour in my eyes if not jaundice…they sometimes get wors especially when i am on medication.

  7. jumoke
    jumoke May 03, 09:03

    Thanks forr helping others.I have just purchased some bottles of solamin. Anyone that needs assistant in getting it from Nigeria may contact me +2348022222173 or lajumoke1@yahoo.com. A bottle is Naira 2,000. You may also call the founder Dr Solomon 07033773350.

  8. Toyin
    Toyin May 08, 07:32

    Hello, have started using solamin and Esomron for my 3yrs old son and i discovered that his hair is turning grey.Is it due to the supplement or the antibiotics i gave him before i started to adminster the supplement?

  9. Elizabeth
    Elizabeth May 29, 10:32

    uche pls send me ur mail

  10. Elizabeth
    Elizabeth May 30, 13:07

    u can contact me on ebronyah@gmail.com.. i appreciate

  11. jumoke
    jumoke June 17, 09:46

    Toyin please, can I have your contact

  12. Toyin
    Toyin June 18, 00:58

    Jumoke my number is 07032444281

  13. JoyousJoy
    JoyousJoy June 23, 12:18

    @Tired01, I feel you to the core, I work in the building construction industry and ITS NOT BEEN EASY being a tall woman (5ft 11inches) and underweight, but God is faithfull, we cry, we resign, we are fired, we get depressed and wish to die, but there is a CONSTANT and thats God, take heart, warrior!! And some solamin!

  14. asma'u
    asma'u June 25, 17:14

    Pls wat is solamin, and its uses. I’m 24 yrs old female living in nigeria and my doctors only prescribe folic acid and paludrin. Is there any medications I need apart from those, pls help because my eyes are always yellow people even think I have hepatitis!

  15. Kemi
    Kemi July 25, 17:12

    Hey I’m selling Solamin for free pls contact @ kemothom@aol.com

  16. Robert J
    Robert J July 25, 19:50

    I have noticed that many of the narcotics to relieve pain cause constipation. so my question is if the BiliRuben that causes jaundice is not released due to constipation from pain releiving narcotics (IV and oral) what are the options? Laxitives? Surely urine alone wont rid the body of the biliruben that causes jaundice.

  17. jessica
    jessica July 26, 07:14

    Am nt in nigeria am in uganda but i nid help to get solamain and esmoron hw can i get it help coz am eyes are so yellow

  18. Nikky
    Nikky July 30, 23:30

    Ayesha, God bless you for throwing more light on this solamin drug, and for the numbers you left. I believe we can have whatever we say cos life and death is in the power of the tongue. I believe I will use solamin and my genotype will change forever just as Ayesha’s son…..Amen. so Uche go for it and believe!

  19. Perla
    Perla August 10, 13:26

    Can someone please provide a website or link: where can I buy or get “SAINT LEAVE”????

  20. sarah
    sarah August 13, 15:04

    i just found out dat my 5mnt old baby is ss,i feel so guilty and i need to help him,can he take d solamin?pls i nid information,08066519916.tanks alot

  21. Tayo
    Tayo August 15, 04:09

    Pls where can I get the Solamin and what does it contain and hope there is no side effect of it

  22. jumoke
    jumoke August 28, 12:40

    Asmau, contact me for sickle cell help or drop your number, there is great remedy in this sickle cell anemia LOCAL HERBS wchich is incredibly magical. All †ђξ symtomps, sickness and traits of sickle cell anemia I̶̲̥̅̊n̶̲̥̅̊ you will fade off. I bless God, every1 I have introduced this herbs to gives great testimonies. Jumoke 08022222173 or 08032239639. Or lajumoke1@yahoo.com

  23. Jenny
    Jenny August 29, 04:13

    I thnk God for ma lyf n dat of every1 wit sc.He has been merciful to introduce dis solamin medicine to us.Glory be to his name.

  24. Ruth Ayenu-Prah
    Ruth Ayenu-Prah September 02, 05:00

    Uche pls i need ur contact. Am a 33yr old sickle cell warrior n i hv this yellow eye problem which reduces my self esteem. U can contact me through ruthprah81@gmail.com
    Thnx.

  25. Ruth Ayenu-Prah
    Ruth Ayenu-Prah September 02, 05:06

    And also how can i get saint leaf n solamin. Am in Ghana. Guys pls help me out. I dont know how its called in my local lang.(Twi), so i can look for it.

  26. benny
    benny September 06, 07:02

    babes pls help me. tell me hw to get those drugs: solamin etc. pls hers ma no. 08164491737. fanx

  27. jumoke
    jumoke September 21, 13:22

    olaJumoke again, it feels soooo good to be back
    here. I have a God of possibilities, he has done great things in the lives of warriors tru dis ”
    hard to believe herbs” locally made in nigeria. I got another great testimony call today. Many thanks to internet ,many warriors around d globe have found me here. Apologies to those who have missed me on bbm, whatsapp n email , pls you can reach me only on email and calls for now. keep your questions rolling , esp mothers who are confused about handling their SS child’s condition. lajumoke1@yahoo.com 08022222173 or 08032239639. ONE LOVE!

  28. hope
    hope September 26, 03:58

    @Benny, you can get solamin in lagos at the nigeria natural medicine development agency, no 9 kofo abayomi street victoria island lagos. Call 08028456423-Kayode.

  29. Nat
    Nat June 19, 04:17

    gud to b here, wish all warriors gud health of mind nd body

  30. Uche
    Uche July 23, 15:19

    Wow I missed dis page. You can call me on 07069628646.
    Solamin is good. if you want to use it I will encourage u. Cos I also used it. but the truth is dat no drug whether herbal or modern can eliminate sickle red blood cell. Solamin present to you opportunity to have white eyes than before but it is not hundred percent. Some cases like malaria can arise and lead to yellow eyes.
    But today I have come to also uplift your spirit and put a smile on your face.
    Gone were d days when I ask God to change my genotype, my parents will aways pray to God for that but I will say to them.dats not necessary. I don’t know if any one is as proud as I am as a sickle cell patient. I love my self d way I am. Some of you might be askin what is this gurl taking abt, jst know dat Sickle cell was a gift given to u to be maintained by God. Ability for you to maintain it makes you a warrior. I’m perfect in its managmnt, though I most confess dat sickle cell is a serious disease.
    So how do you maintain sickle cell
    Maintaining SC can be centered on diff. Aspects of life
    1.Maintaining white eyes
    2.maintaining a perfect physique which include eliminating abnormal fat belly
    3.Reducing SC crisis and so on
    All my life I have searched for solns on a perfect life the more I searched the more I realized I am meant to save other SC patients with my findings and That’s wat I have been doin.
    I will not discourse on any of the managemnt now cos dat will be like writing a novel. But I wil tell you a secret dat I used to be very proud of who I am, a secret dat made me better dan all in a gathering. A secret dat makes pple to say, I want to look like Uche. But dey do not know who Uche is, they do not know my genotype yet they wish to be like me. The secret I used is LOVE. Yes, I used love. Love yourself and dats also means loving yourself as a sickler. You will see a new you.

    You can get scent leave at any local store or u can call me. Scent leaf benefit was highlighted on my previous write up.
    Uche is an inspirational talker and ready to make frnds on dis page for more info on ANY question you want to ask abt SC I’m always available to help.
    Tanks and dis time I will continue to check back on dis page.

  31. Uche
    Uche July 23, 15:36

    I’m sorry I made mistake on my spelling the last time I wrote about Scent leaf. Pls the correct spelling is scent leaf and not saint leaf. Dis will help you more to google it. But info. Abot scent leaf benefis on SC is difficult to find on net. It was just a natural experience and I got to know abt it form my personal doctor who happens to be a sickler and in his 60s now. Scent leaf is one of d best things dat can happen to you. And d good news is dat it is just a vegetable like any other vegetable so it is hundred percent safe and cheap

  32. Aina
    Aina September 14, 14:50

    My 7yrs daughter compln of running stomach almost everyday pls is it as a result of bn a SC? Her daily dose is jobelyn.

  33. Ekasco78
    Ekasco78 November 20, 04:31

    Please help many souls. I have two SS children 10 and 8 years. I have been using Solamin and Esomaron for a long period, but nothing change. What is the problem? Please help.

  34. Uche
    Uche December 05, 14:26

    I’m n my early 20s but I don’t consume Jobelyn daily. U shuld ask ur doctor more on dat because the mg of jobelyn can be too much for her to carry daily.

  35. Enoch
    Enoch December 14, 23:51

    uche God bless u for helping other i m having a 4 and half girl her eyes is alway yellow and sometimes her body is hot ple can u kindly picture or video the scent leaf and the solamin pls or the name in twi.Ga.or fante thank u nd God bless u once again call me 0277641813

  36. C.A
    C.A December 15, 00:01

    Pls I am a warrior but I dnt av crisis often may b once in a year or not @all buh my eyes r often sumhow yellowish n it makes me feel so bad nd insecure, pls how cn I get connected I wnt my eyes to b sparkling white

  37. oscar
    oscar December 31, 14:40

    hi, could u be marketing ur products in uganda as well? am tired of the yellow colour on my eyes

  38. velma
    velma January 09, 12:37

    my younger sister is ss and has been admitted she gets high temperature on and off and urinates dark pls wat should I do we are always buyin medicines

  39. Aguie
    Aguie January 10, 18:21

    I have a daughter, brother and sister who are ss and I am in Orlando Florida. How can I get this product?

  40. Tolkel
    Tolkel February 16, 05:09

    Please, is ”scent” leave ewe ”efirin” in yoruba language?

  41. Kesh
    Kesh March 17, 07:28

    I’m also ss with very thick yellow eye balls. I hate meeting new people and also avoid having eye contact with people because the next thing I’ll hear will be “why are your eyes yellow?” I’d just instantly feel bad about the question and ask my self if they really needed to bother about my eyes after all it isn’t theirs. I stopped having crises since I was fifteen and also stopped taking medication…I’m 18 now…I’ve used solamin and esomaron and they didn’t make things better…I just read here that I’m not supposed to take processed food and junks while using the drugs,I didn’t know…I guess that’s why it didn’t work. I’ll try to find the drugs and use them and at the same time stick to the rules and overcome the temptation of eating junk foods. I hate oranges and pineapples and some other fruits. I’ll also try taking fruits now. I’m honestly tired of these yellow eyes. Thank you for opening this thread…I’ve learnt a lot!

  42. Vicki smart
    Vicki smart March 31, 04:54

    Hi warriors, Uche, Jummy, pls hw do I use dis scent leaf?

  43. oscar
    oscar April 17, 11:33

    Hi friends am 21 years old born with sickle cell,though I have lost my sis in this situation,I hardly have crises for some years now 4 to 5 years precisely,buh my yellow eyes disturbs me a lot can’t communicate with other ,cox of some painful questions”y ar ur eyes yellow,can’t work much cox of loss of energy can’t do thing’s like other pple,pls I came in london newly,buh b4 then I usually takes malaria drugs which clears my yellow eyes when I was in Nigeria,buh here in London precisely Manchester city their nothing like malaria drugs,pls is anyway to get solamin drugs in london any information should pls contact through this email kenchukwustanley@gmail.com or +447459006736,GOD shall see us through in JESUS name Amen!!!

  44. Raymond
    Raymond May 29, 18:17

    Uche, God bless you for all of us.

  45. jumoke
    jumoke June 19, 04:48

    World sickle cell day incredibly boring: Good morning all, It is unfortunate that we the sickle cell patients suffer a lot of neglect, we only get a pity party rather than help, this neglect touches my heart I cannot believe people die and will still continue to die when someone like me here can boldly say we have effective, harmless natural remedies here in Nigeria. I am a living testimony of this unpopular local product ( 33 years and a mother) We also have a number of kids testimonies of this product, some I met on this platform. Why cant I get support for this product so I can help save many more lives of the Africa children living with sickle cell or even across the globe . May be I don’t know what to do, may be am not doing something right. CAN SOMEBODY HELP ME, CAN SOMEBODY HELP “US WARRIORS” to standardize the product. We need interested researchers for this product. Some of us dared to be bold and trusted this product, used it religiously and got wonderful result and are happier patient or parents today. Some dumped it carelessly because they expected Sickle disease to be cured magically within just few weeks and that dint happen. Which ever method we
    choose to care for our Warriors, a healthy beautiful lifestyle is what we can all wish ourselves. To know more about this product, reach out to me today on +2348032239639, +2348022222173( whatsapp) or email lajumoke001@yahoo.com . I refuse to fold my arms #saveasicklecellchild# Olajumoke.

  46. prossy
    prossy July 05, 22:02

    My child is 6yrs and sickle cells ,plz indeed to get the treatment ,am in uganda

  47. Abdulrahman
    Abdulrahman July 06, 15:48

    I was once told that ”Jobelyn” is very good for Sickle Cell Patient but i don’t know where i’ll get it and i lost contact with the Woman that told me long time ago, she’s from Portharcourt. +2348034148158.

  48. mikky j
    mikky j August 10, 16:04

    Mine is dat i dnt know if i av any sickness or not but my eyes are should i say its yellowish, brownish or reddish? I dnt know but i feel very bad when i look into d mirror most especially when i wake in d morning or when take a short of drink pple ask me dat y re my eyes like dis (red) am just tired of pple telling dis everyday, can d scent leaf nd plenty of water make it sparkling white?

  49. happy
    happy August 18, 15:13

    Your comment..pls uche how can I make use o
    f d saint leaf nd were can I get solamin ?

  50. jehu de invicibiliz
    jehu de invicibiliz August 20, 12:07

    I hate it,especially when a beautiful lady ask,why are ur eyes yellow,they sometimes sees me as an habbitual smoker.plz bradaz and sister help me get the scent leave and contact me on +233546496706

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