Health Watch - Spring Fling: Photo Clues

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


This week on Health Watch, we’ve been talking about springtime – the warmer weather, blooming flowers and spring holidays. One ritual of springtime is taking pictures with spring wildflowers, by flowerbeds full of spring blooms or in Easter finery. Those photos could provide some health clues.

Eyes may look different in photographs because flash photography works a lot like the ophthalmoscope a doctor uses to examine the eye. You see the “red eye” effect most often. Dr. Nick Hogan, an ophthalmologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says this is normal. Eyes look red in photos because of the reflection off blood in the retina. If the pupil is white or iridescent, consult your ophthalmologist or pediatrician. The white pupil in photographs means that there’s an absence of blood in the retina preventing the normal red eye effect. The most common causes of this in children include glaucoma and inflammation of the middle layer of the eye.

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April 2011


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