Why Do I See a Rainbow in My Eye? 8 Causes

Medically Reviewed on 6/1/2022
Why Do I See a Rainbow in My Eye
Learn about 8 causes of rainbow vision and how you can treat it

Seeing rainbows in your eyes often occurs as a response to bright lights at night, but it can also indicate a problem with your eyes or vision. Learn about 8 causes of rainbow vision and how you can treat it.

8 causes of rainbow vision

1. Cataracts

Normally, the lens of the eye is clear and allows light to pass through. Cataracts can cloud the lens, causing rainbow vision, sensitivity to light, or blurred vision.

2. Retinitis pigmentosa

Retinitis pigmentosa is a rare genetic disorder that causes a breakdown and loss of retina cells. Rainbow vision could be an early symptom of the condition.

3. Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a condition in which the optic nerve gets damaged due to fluid buildup and excessive pressure in the eye. The sudden appearance of halos or colored rings around lights could be a sign of acute glaucoma. Other symptoms of glaucoma include:

4. Keratoconus

Keratoconus occurs when the cornea thins, leading to a cone-like bulge on the eye. Keratoconus results in visual impairment and may lead to rainbow vision. Other symptoms of keratoconus include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent changes in eyeglass prescription
  • Light sensitivity
  • Difficulty driving at night
  • Eye irritation or pain

5. Eye procedures

Eye procedures can cause problems with night vision, including rainbow vision:

6. Common eye problems

Eye conditions that can cause rainbow vision include:

7. Diabetes

Over time, diabetes can damage blood vessels and nerves in the eyes, leading to rainbow vision and night vision problems.

8. Nutritional deficiencies

Vitamin A and zinc deficiency can cause problems with night vision. 

Good sources of vitamin A include:

  • Leafy green vegetables 
  • Carrots
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Cantaloupe
  • Mango
  • Tomatoes
  • Red bell peppers
  • Beef liver
  • Fish oils
  • Milk
  • Eggs

Good sources of zinc include:

  • Oysters
  • Red meat
  • Poultry
  • Beans
  • Nuts
  • Whole grains
  • Fortified breakfast cereals
  • Dairy products

How is rainbow vision treated?

Treatment of rainbow vision depends on the underlying cause and may include:

  • Cataract surgery: Cataract surgery involves removing the clouded lens and replacing it with an artificial lens.
  • Glaucoma surgery: Surgery can increase fluid movement in the eye, reducing intraocular pressure and reducing rainbow vision.
  • Glasses or contact lenses: Glasses or contact lenses can fix vision problems such as nearsightedness or farsightedness.

How can you prevent rainbow vision?

  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes during the day.
  • Use a visor in your car to block sunlight.
  • Ask your ophthalmologist about lenses that can help correct eye problems.
  • Eat a diet rich in vitamins.
  • Avoid excess alcohol.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Manage your blood sugar levels to prevent nerve damage.


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Medically Reviewed on 6/1/2022
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