It has long been known that the appearance of your eyes in a photograph can say a lot about your health.
This is because light from the flash reflects color from the retina at the back of the eye, which converts the images into electrical signals that are sent to the brain.
Doctors have warned that if one or both pupils are bright white, it could mean there is too little blood in the retina. And this problem can indicate a variety of conditions, from common cataracts to life-threatening eye cancer.
But now, experts have pointed out that a selfie taken with a flash doesn’t just show problems: it can also indicate perfectly healthy eyes.
The graphic above shows different eye colors in photographs with their meaning. At the top right, the eye shown could indicate a rare childhood cancer, retinoblastoma, and at the bottom left, the white eye shown in the image could be a sign of a disease in which blood vessels leak into the eye.
Doctors at the American Academy of Ophthalmology recently expressed concern that too few people are benefiting from this convenient health check, due to the advent of image-editing features in smartphone cameras that remove blemishes.
Experts said a flash reflection that illuminates the eyes bright red is a useful indicator that the retina is “blood-rich.” a “good sign” that “both eyes are healthy and unobstructed.”
“A red reflex occurs when a camera flash illuminates the blood-rich retina,” the doctors said.
“If the eyes are looking directly into the camera lens and the color of the reflection in both eyes is red, it is usually a good sign that the retinas in both eyes are unobstructed and healthy.”
Crucially, flash reflection can also show signs of eye problems.
For example, cases where one eye is less red than the other (medically called an asymmetric red reflex) could be a warning sign of strabismus, a disorder in which both eyes do not line up the same. address.
This happens due to problems with the muscles that control eyeball movement, which affect about four percent of American adults.
Other warning signs include vision problems, crashing into objects, and eyes that don’t move together.
Doctors say it’s best to catch the condition early, when it’s easier to treat.
Treatments include wearing glasses or surgery to strengthen one of the eye muscles.
In cases where one or both eyes are white, ophthalmologists said this may be a sign of a rare type of cancer called retinoblastoma, or eye cancer.
The discoloration is caused by light reflecting off white cancer cells in the back of the eye.
Retinoblastoma is a rare childhood cancer that occurs when cells begin to divide uncontrollably in the retina and affects about 300 children each year. Other warning signs include poor vision and eye pain.
Doctors said a white eye could also be an indication that the retina is detaching or an infection.
When the retina moves it reflects light differently, while the structure of the cells can be altered if it becomes infected.
According to doctors, about one in eight children suffers from an eye infection every year.
In some cases, the eyes may also appear yellow in photographs, doctors said.
This could be a warning sign of Coats disease, when the blood vessels inside the eye become twisted and leak.
Scientists suggest that the disease may be caused by genetic mutations that lead to a buildup of cholesterol deposits in the eye, which reflect yellow against a camera flash.
There are approximately 100 cases per year, usually occurring in children, and the condition can be treated through surgery or cryotherapy, in which blasts of cold air are used to remove abnormal tissue.