right eye red left eye blue
June 20, 2008 2:53 AM   Subscribe

When I open only my right eye things are tinted red. When I open only my left eye they are tinted blue. Is this normal?

Is this a symptom of anything or is it just normal variation? I've had it for a long time. If it is normal, do other people see other colors? The effect is a lot like making a photo "warm" or "cool" in photoshop.

Maybe I shouldn't have used 3d glasses as sunglasses when I was a kid.
posted by Infernarl to Health & Fitness (36 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
This happens to me when I have one eye open for a few minutes, then open the other. The world looks bluer to the previously-closed eye than to the already-open eye. Eventually they equalize, though.
posted by panic at 3:30 AM on June 20, 2008

Was the light on one side of your head brighter the other? It happens to me, especially if I'm using my computer in the dark.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 3:35 AM on June 20, 2008

I get a similar thing: everything looks a bit more yellow through my left eye than my right (I agree, it's "warmer"). Unlike previous posters it's always like that for me, not the result of recent uneven lighting.

I always assumed this was one of those little asymmetries that people have.
posted by nomis at 3:53 AM on June 20, 2008

I study human vision. I recall this being mentioned in one of my introductory texts as a normal individual difference. but I can't find the reference. Perhaps someone else will step in with a link.
posted by fake at 4:39 AM on June 20, 2008

I have the exact same thing and I've wondered if it's normal as well. But it's been like that all my life and never bothered me.
posted by vodkaboots at 4:41 AM on June 20, 2008

Response by poster: It's good to hear that other people have some variation of this. It happenes regardless of lighting conditions. My eyes are blue. but that probably doesn't matter.
posted by Infernarl at 5:01 AM on June 20, 2008

I get it too!
posted by dowcrag at 5:49 AM on June 20, 2008

If it's an extreme difference, then that's not normal. If it's slight, then that's normal.
posted by JJ86 at 6:07 AM on June 20, 2008

i thought it was just me :)

I first noticed it when i was a kid going to sleep, while looking at my purple pillow.. it looked blue in one eye and pinkish in the other.
posted by TheOtherGuy at 7:01 AM on June 20, 2008

Great Post! I have noticed this on myself since I was a young kid. I never thought to ask if anyone else experienced it.
posted by birdlips at 7:11 AM on June 20, 2008

I agree, great post. Usually when I am in the shade on a sunny day and I alternate the blinking of my eyelids, I see a warmer red in my right eye and a green in my left eye.
posted by yoyoceramic at 7:15 AM on June 20, 2008

I experience this exactly as described by Infernarl. I asked my wife about it once, and she has the same effect as well. I've never been particularly concerned or worried about it, though.

It's most obvious when looking at a blank white wall.
posted by owtytrof at 7:37 AM on June 20, 2008

Me too.
posted by toastchee at 7:46 AM on June 20, 2008

I went to an ophthalmologist when I was a kid about something unrelated, and mentioned that my eyes say different 'tints', blue and yellow (or cool and warm) and she said it was due to the lenses being slightly different in each. Though now that I think about it, I don't see how a geometric difference is going to cause this.
posted by claudius at 8:01 AM on June 20, 2008

This must come in handy for looking at 3-D posters. I'm jealous.
posted by Wild_Eep at 8:08 AM on June 20, 2008

I see more red in one eye, and more green in the other. I always figured that everyone's eyes were like that, what with 3D glasses and all.
posted by Solomon at 8:19 AM on June 20, 2008

Cool. I've never noticed this before, but the same thing happens to me. A geometric difference could cause this, claudius, because different frequencies (colors) focus at different distances. Differences in the shape of your left and right lens would cause different colors to focus on each retina. Chromatic aberration.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:20 AM on June 20, 2008

Yay for normality! One eye is warmer than the other here too.
posted by Ponderance at 8:33 AM on June 20, 2008

Is this a recent change, or just something that you've always had and just recently wondered about?

Significant, sudden changes in color perception in your eye could be a symptom of something nasty (eg, glaucoma damaging some of the ol' rods and cones), and you'd want to see an eye doc quickly.
posted by jenkinsEar at 9:09 AM on June 20, 2008

Me too, thanks bringing this up.

One eye is usually warmer in color than the other, I always thought it had something to with blood flow while laying on one side or another. Asked my eye doctor about this once and he said it was no big deal.
posted by limited slip at 9:23 AM on June 20, 2008

See! I'm not that Freaky!.

Funny how everyone's mentioned their right as being warmer; anyone out there where it's their left?
posted by Freaky at 9:25 AM on June 20, 2008

I get this too, but only when I'm lying on my side. I wondered about it for the longest time until I realized the red-seeing eye was always the one on the bottom: if I was lying on my right side, my right eye saw red. I then assumed it had to do with blood flow.

Or what limited slip said.
posted by rhapsodie at 9:37 AM on June 20, 2008

In grad school, I noted a similar perception and asked one of my professors--a renowned vision researcher--why this was so. He told me it wasn't possible. Um...okay.

Therefore, my completely baseless hypothesis has always been varying distributions of color cones in the retinas of the two eyes. The bloodflow theory sounds promising too, except that I also get the effect while sitting up.
posted by mimo at 10:10 AM on June 20, 2008

Same here, Right eye is "warmer". I'm also right handed, if that matters.

I am going to make a totally baseless guess that this may have something to do with eye dominance. My eye doctor has mentioned eye dominance before, but at this moment I can't remember if I am right or left eye dominant. Hmm.

I'm thinking this has more to do with perception than actual eye organ differences.
posted by Ynoxas at 10:22 AM on June 20, 2008

Oh, I've always had that. It always amused me while out driving to close one eye and look like I'm driving through Mars... close the other and it's the ocean. Never thought to concern myself about it -- just assumed (like Solomon) that it was the reason why 3D glasses had different colors.
posted by elisabethjw at 10:22 AM on June 20, 2008

"Red desaturation" - which is what neurologists call it when one eye sees red less well than the other eye - is a nonspecific sign of optic nerve damage. In practice, we use it to diagnose optic neuritis. Sometimes it never recovers.

It's very difficult to acquire proof of hypotheses about sensory variance. There is no way to tell whether someone is really experiencing less red in one eye or whether they are just convincing themselves that they are.
posted by ikkyu2 at 10:28 AM on June 20, 2008

Color seems even in both eyes for me indoors, but I started noticing an obvious color shift when I'd be outside in the bright sun, with one closed. In particular, the gray of the sidewalk would be warmer or cooler depending on which eye was open. I always wondered about it too but never got around to looking it up.

I have really lousy eyesight without contacts, and have floaters, so I hope that scary-sounding "red desaturation" deal doesn't apply also. I guess I'll have to ask. This thread was fine and dandy until that response!
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 1:26 PM on June 20, 2008

I was about to suggest that it's genetic, as I asked your brother and he says he has it too, but if everybody in this thread has it, then it must be more common than I imagined.

For the record, I do not have it! The world looks exactly the same through one, the other, and both eyes! Maybe this is the reason I haven't ever been capable of seeing those Magic Eye images.
posted by hyperfascinated at 3:18 PM on June 20, 2008

My left eye is warmer. I'm right-handed.
posted by number9dream at 4:26 PM on June 20, 2008

I get this too. It's especially pronounced when I'm under one of those purple-tinted light bulbs that are supposed to mimic natural light better than the typical incandescents. I think I usually see more red in the left eye and more green in the right: port and starboard. But I remember noticing once that the colors had reversed positions, so I could believe the hypothesis that the tinting changes in response to blood flow or something like that.
posted by Orinda at 6:48 PM on June 20, 2008

Yep, me, too. One eye sees the world in "warm" tones, the other in "cool" tones. So one eye sees more reds, oranges, yellows, and the other, more blues, greens, and greys. As far as I've heard, it's completely normal. (I asked my ophthalmologist about it once.)

I also have terrible eyesight and floaters, for what it's worth.
posted by Savannah at 7:22 PM on June 20, 2008

I only notice this when I'm looking through the viewfinder of my camera and change eyes.
posted by wherever, whatever at 8:47 PM on June 20, 2008

Red in the left and green in the right, here. I always figures it was my port and starboard running lights ;)
posted by Acacia at 3:22 AM on June 21, 2008

Right warmer. I noticed this when I was a little kid staring at the beige interior of my mom's Ford Galaxie. I thought I had a sort of super power sight, and I've hung onto the idea that I have the color-perception equivalent of perfect pitch.
posted by tula at 12:18 PM on June 21, 2008

I have this, and I used to attribute it to an event that happened as a kid.

On school camp, and the proud owner of a small flash camera, I became curious as to the effect that flashing my eye would have. I put the flash against my eye and pressed the shutter release. At the last second, I chickened out and shut my eyelid. It made little difference. I was instantly blind in that eye, and for fear of getting in trouble I told nobody. Within probably half an hour I could differentiate light and dark, then an hour or so later I had colour back. I wouldn't recommend it, but it was interesting.
posted by tomble at 10:03 PM on June 26, 2008

I have the same thing! I've noticed it ever since I was little. I think, given the response, it's pretty normal.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 10:02 PM on July 25, 2008

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