About Yellow Eyes From Drinking Alcohol

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If you have a history of frequent, heavy abuse of alcohol, yellow eyes are a warning sign that you may be on the precipice of irreversible harm. Do not ignore this symptom. If you get help, you can minimize your risk of further damage – but if you don’t make significant changes, the results can be catastrophic.

Does Alcohol Really Make Your Eyes Turn Yellow?

Yes, consuming alcohol really can make your eyes turn yellow. This is unlikely to occur if you drink infrequently and in moderation. However, if you regularly consume large amounts of alcohol over an extended period of time, the effects of this behavior can indeed include a yellowing of the sclera (which is the medical term for the white part of your eye).

Alcohol-related yellowing of the eyes is not merely a superficial cosmetic effect. It is an indicator of a physical problem that, if not rectified, can be fatal.

How Does Alcohol Cause Eyes to Turn Yellow?

If you have developed yellow eyes as a result of alcohol use, this is a sign that your drinking habits have caused damage to your liver. Yellow eyes and yellowing skin (jaundice) can be symptoms of a condition called alcoholic hepatitis, which is the second of three stages of alcohol-related liver damage:

  • Fatty liver is the first stage of liver damage due to alcohol abuse. This is a reversible condition that results from the strain that filtering alcohol puts on a person’s liver. 
  • Alcoholic hepatitis occurs when a person’s continued drinking causes inflammation and permanent scarring in the liver.
  • Alcoholic cirrhosis is a severe, potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when scarring becomes so severe that it prevents the liver from functioning properly. 


Yellow skin and eyes from alcohol abuse are among the more obvious signs of alcoholic hepatitis. But they are by no means the only indicators that a person’s liver has been damaged to this extent. Additional symptoms of alcoholic hepatitis can include: 

  • Abdominal pain, primarily in the area near the liver
  • Loss of appetite and resultant unintentional weight loss
  • Persistent fatigue and weakness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Elevated body temperature (fever)


The impaired liver functioning that can result from alcoholic hepatitis can lead to a buildup of toxins in the body. This, in turn, can cause cognitive problems, confusion, and behavioral changes.

Does it Mean You’re an Alcoholic if Your Eyes Become Yellow?

The development of yellow eyes from alcohol is not one of the criteria for alcohol use disorder (alcoholism) as defined in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). 

However, if you have been drinking so much (and so often) that you have incurred liver damage and yellow eyes, alcohol addiction is a very real possibility.

To confirm whether or not you have developed alcoholism, you should make an appointment for an assessment. The professional who conducts this assessment can provide you with an accurate diagnosis and recommend appropriate treatment options.

Can Yellow Eyes Be Cured?

As we noted in the previous section, yellow eyes from alcohol abuse are a symptom of alcoholic hepatitis. If you stop drinking and get appropriate medical and behavioral health treatment, you can prevent additional damage. You may also be able to reverse some of the effects of alcoholic hepatitis, such as yellow eyes.

If I Can’t Stop Drinking Alcohol, What Are My Treatment Options?

Untreated alcoholism can be devastating. But when you get effective professional care, you can quit drinking and learn how to live a sober lifestyle. If you can’t stop drinking on your own, you have many options for treatment:

  • Detoxification: Commonly referred to as detox, this is a short-term program where a team of professionals can help you get through withdrawal safely and with as little discomfort as possible. For many people, detox is an essential first step on the path to successful recovery from alcohol addiction.
  • Residential rehab: While you’re in residential rehab, you will live at the facility where you receive treatment. This allows you to temporarily step away from the stresses and distractions of everyday life, so that you can focus your full attention on building a foundation for successful recovery.
  • Partial hospitalization program (PHP): If you can benefit from full days of treatment, but you don’t require round-the-clock care, a PHP may be the ideal option for you. PHPs, which can offer a variety of therapies, typically meet five days per week. When the PHP is not in session, you can return to your home or to an alternative supportive residence.
  • Intensive outpatient program (IOP): In an IOP, you will usually take part in partial days of treatment, three to five days per week. Many people step down to an IOP for additional support after they complete treatment at the residential or PHP level.
  • Outpatient treatment: Outpatient rehab offers the greatest amount of flexibility while still allowing you to retain a structured connection to clinical care. This level can be an ideal source of ongoing support as you advance in your recovery.

Contact Our Residential Alcohol Rehab Center in Los Angeles, CA

Renewal Health Group is a trusted source of residential alcohol rehab for adults in the Los Angeles, California, area. To best serve our patients, we also offer a detox program, a PHP, an IOP, and an outpatient option. We are committed to identifying the full scope of each person’s unique needs, then providing the focused care that will help them live a healthier life, free from the constraints of compulsive alcohol abuse.

No matter where you are in your recovery journey, Renewal Health Group is here to help. To learn more or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our Contact page or call our center today.

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