Red Eyes and Selfies: Not a Good Look - Smart Vision Labs

Red Eyes and Selfies

Your just took the perfect selfie. But your smile fades as soon as you look at the photo. What’s with those red eyes? It might work for zombies but your Facebook friends are not going to “Like” this pic.

This has happened to all of us and it’s caused by the way the light from the camera’s flash passes into the eyes through the pupil. The flash occurs very quickly and the pupils don’t have time to constrict to limit the amount of light that goes into the eyes. This light then travels to the back of the eyes where it is reflected outward and is captured on film.

The red color that you see in the photo is caused by the rich supply of blood that is at the back of the eyes. When the large amount of light from the camera’s flash enters through the pupils, it illuminates the entire eye. The choroid, which is a layer of connective tissue, is a source of blood that nourishes the retina and gives it a reddish color.

The red eyes in your photo are a reflection of the blood that is at the back of your eyes.

The red color is normal because your eyes need a blood supply to stay healthy. The only problem with red eyes is when they make you look a little crazed in a photo.

This problem can be solved by using a few tips that professional photographers know about. First, don’t look directly at the camera. Look slightly away from the lens so your eyes do not get the full amount of flash in them.  Another tip is to make the room brighter. If the room is already dark, the pupils are dilated to let in more light. When the flash goes off, the pupils will not have time to constrict to limit the light and the blood supply at the back of the eye will be illuminated. Turn on more lights in the room; this helps get rid of red eyes in photos.

Eye doctors found an interesting medical aspect of the ‘red reflex.’ It’s actually considered normal if both eyes look red in a photo. This means that the retinas are unobstructed and apparently healthy. If only one eye appears red, it could indicate a misalignment of the eyes, especially if seen in a child. This can be treated with eyeglasses, prisms, or eye muscle surgery.

Other abnormal reactions may be if the eyes look white, black, or yellowish. This may be indicative of eye conditions and it would be best to have an exam with an ophthalmologist.

Eyes that look white in the photo can signal the presence of cataracts, retinal detachments, or infections. A rare form of childhood cancer that affects the eyes is known as retinoblastoma. This may also show as white eyes in a photo. This disease can be successfully treated if diagnosed early.

Yellow eyes can signal Coat’s disease, which is caused by abnormal blood vessels in the eyes. It is mostly detected in boys under the age of ten, and early treatment can include laser surgery.

So, the next time your selfie didn’t come out exactly as you planned, take a good look at it anyway. The eyes that are looking back at you may be assuring you of health or telling you to take a closer look.

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