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Xanthopsia and the distribution of Jaundice in body fluids

Posted by iskanbasal on April 2, 2009

What is it, xanthopsia?

In deep jaundice, the ocular fluids are yellow, and this
is considered to explain the extremely rare symptom of
xanthopsia (seeing yellow).

The wikipedia definition is here:

“Xanthopsia refers to the predominance of yellow in vision due to a yellowing of the optic media of the eye. The most common cause is digoxin toxicity and the development of cataracts which can cause a yellow filtering effect”.

The General Practice notebook definition :

The patient with xanthopsia complains that his vision has a yellow tinge.

Xanthopsia is caused by:

  • severe jaundice
  • digoxin toxicity.

I’m reviewing now the liver diagnostic tests and procedures and have posted about in a previous post. The metabolism of bilirubin and its secretion by the liver is one of the important subjects related to the liver function and testing. I’m reading important notes about bilirubin metabolism and how jaundice is distributed in body fluids. One is the term xanthopsia which in wikipedia is associated with cataracts and digoxin toxicity but not with deep jaundice. Another notes about the distribution of jaundice is that exudate tends to be more icteric than transudates because it contains more protein-bound bilirubin; that urine, sweat, semen and milk contain bile pigment in the deeply jaundiced patient. But most importantly is the fact that bilirubin is readily bound to elastic tissue. Skin, ocular sclera and blood vessels have a high elastic tissue content, and easily become icteric. This also accounts for the disparity between the depth of skin jaundice and
serum bilirubin levels during recovery from hepatitis and cholestasis.

I’m reading on this outstanding textbook of liver diseases, but only few things as it is too much vast:

Diseases of the Liver

and Biliary System by SHEILA SHERLOCK and JAMES DOOLEY


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