What Is Palinopsia, and How’s It Diagnosed and Treated

What Is Palinopsia?

Palinopsia (also known as “Pale-pink” or “Pink Eye”) is a condition where the eye color changes from pink to blue. The most common causes are genetic and environmental. Genetic causes include:

1) Polycythemia vera – This is a disorder in which red blood cells do not produce enough oxygen to carry out your body functions properly.

2) Aplastic Anemia – This is a disorder in which there is too little iron in the body.

3) Hemochromatosis – This is a disease caused by excessive amounts of hemoglobin, an enzyme that carries oxygen around the body.

4) Rhabdomyosarcoma – This is a cancerous growth of bone marrow tissue in the bones.

5) Leukemia – This is a type of blood cancer.

6) Melanoma – This is a skin cancer.

7) Multiple Myeloma – This is a cancer caused by cancerous plasma cell tumors in the bone marrow.

8) Chordoma – A type of cancer that begins in the bones.

The color change happens because the ocular fluid, called aqueous humor, is being mixed with blood or other bodily fluids (including spinal fluid). This process is normally prevented by a membrane that prevents the liquid from mixing.

In other cases, pink eye can also be caused by:

1) Medication side effects, such as steroids or antimalarial drugs.

2) Eye surgery, such as LASIK.

3) Viral infections, such as herpes zoster or roseola.

4) Toxins affecting the eye, such as belladonna or lead poisoning.

5) Puncture wounds to the eye.

6) Eye injuries, such as a blow to the eye or debris in eye.

7) Toxins affecting the body, such as carbon monoxide poisoning or methemoglobinemia.

8) Medication side effects, such as phenothiazines or quinine.

Palinopsia is not a disease in itself, but a symptom of another underlying condition. Complications may occur if the underlying cause is left untreated.

How Is Palinopsia Diagnosed?

A doctor will perform a thorough eye examination to look for any other medical problems and rule out other potential causes. Your doctor will also take your medical history and inquire about your symptoms.

How Is Palinopsia Treated?

The treatment of palinopsia is directed at the underlying cause. For example, if palinopsia is caused by a medication side effect, reducing or stopping the medication may resolve the condition. The most important thing to do is to receive proper diagnosis and treatment of the underlying cause.

What Is Palinopsia Dangerous?

In rare cases, palinopsia may be a symptom of an underlying serious condition that requires treatment. It is important to seek medical attention if you experience any symptoms of palinopsia.

Can Palinopsia Be Prevented?

There is currently no known way to prevent palinopsia.

What Is the Prognosis Of Palinopsia?

The prognosis for palinopsia is excellent if the condition is identified and treated early. If the underlying cause is left untreated, vision loss may result.

-This page was last updated on 9/3/17

Treatments For Other Vision Problems


Macular Degeneration

Central Vision Loss From a Retinal Detachment


Dry Eyes

Blurred Vision

Diabetic Retinopathy

Retinal Vein Occlusion (Blockage of the Major Blood Vessel to the Retina)

Retinal Tear or Detachment

Other Vision Problems

Sources & references used in this article:

Palinopsia by B Abert, PF Ilsen – Optometry-Journal of the American Optometric …, 2010 – Elsevier

Cognitive vision, its disorders and differential diagnosis in adults and children: knowing where and what things are by GN Dutton – Eye, 2003 – nature.com

Metamorphopsia and palinopsia: association with periodic lateralized epileptiform discharges in a patient with malignant astrocytoma by WB Young, DO Heros, BL Ehrenberg… – Archives of …, 1989 – jamanetwork.com

More than meets the eye: the eye and migraine—what you need to know by KB Digre – Journal of Neuro-ophthalmology, 2018 – journals.lww.com