Yellow Sclera & Allergies

The tissue that makes up the white of your eye, called the sclera, could turn yellow if you have a condition known as jaundice. The skin on the rest of your body may also have a yellow hue. The color changes occur from the build up of bilirubin in your system. Allergic reactions to food, pollen or dander will not contribute to a sclera yellowing or jaundice, but allergies may cause sclera-related symptoms.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.


Infant jaundice may occur shortly after birth, possibly from the inability of the infant’s body to process the bilirubin. In adults, a number of health conditions may cause jaundice. These medical problems include hepatitis, cirrhosis, pancreatic cancer or gallstones blocking the bile duct leading to the liver.


Allergies will not cause jaundice symptoms, but an allergic reaction could involve your eyes. In relation to the sclera, an allergic reaction may cause redness on the white of your eye. Additional eye symptoms may include itching, surface irritation, eyelid swelling and tearing. You may also experience allergy symptoms such as nasal congestion, coughing, sneezing and sinus pressure.


The treatment for jaundice will depend entirely on the cause. Infant jaundice may require the child to spend time under special lights that will combat the condition. For adults, in certain cases, medications may help resolve or control the medical problem causing the jaundice symptoms. However, in other instances, such as with pancreatic cancer, invasive treatment may still not keep your symptoms under control. In all cases, the sclera will remain yellow until the underlying cause resolves 1. Allergy symptoms will often resolve with over-the-counter antihistamines or by avoiding the source of your allergies. You may need medicated eye drops to help ease redness and other eye-related symptoms.


If you notice changes in the color of your sclera, contact your doctor. She will examine your eyes and perform tests to help determine the cause. You should not wait to seek treatment; prompt attention to your symptoms could prevent complications and worsening of the jaundice symptoms. Allergies do not typically indicate a serious medical condition, but an allergic reaction may cause severe eye discomfort. If you suffer from chronic allergies, talk to your doctor about taking allergy medications each day to help prevent a reaction.