Having some of the eyes in your photos show bright red is caused by the emitting flash being too in line with your subjects eyes and bouncing off of the retina show bright red. There are two ways to fix this.

  1. Before the issue comes up by making sure the flash is a far away from the lens as possible
  2. After the fact by using the tools in Photoshop (PS), Lightroom (LR), or Adobe Camera Raw (ACR)

Item #1 implies you have a Single Lens Reflex camera with a "shoe" to fit an attached flash unit. This is a great idea IF you have a SLR but if you have a Point & Shoot camera of any kind (including a camera phone) that's not an option.

In PS, LR, or ACR, there is a tool that you can select, drag across a "red eye" eye and the problem goes away.

In Photoshop it can be accessed from either the Brush drop-down menu, or with more recent version of PS-CC, it will be found in the Edit Tools icon as shown below.


In Adobe Camera Raw it can be found in the top tool menu.


and in Lightroom it can be found amoungts the standard tools in the Develop module.


the good and/or bad thing about each of these tools is that they are looking for a uniform red color. If your subject's red eye is not uniform, than it will not work all that well. For example, below is a classic red eye along with the results of using any of the red eye corrections (I tried all, none of them made a difference). On the top is the original image, below that is the best correction I could do and on the bottom you can see the problem: there are many shades and hues of red in those eyes. [Hint: sometimes you can get past this by doing multiple repeats of the process as each will do as much as it can and then you try again (and again and again)].

Photoshop CCScreenSnapz001.png

Nonetheless, if your subject's red eye is equally shaded, than any of these tools do an amazing job.

But, as stated, each of these tools are looking for "red." One of the big complaints after these tools were introduced was that they did nothing for animal eyes. As an example below is a photo of my two corgis at the head of the stairs using the flash on my phone.


Now these are unique as they are white, animal eyes can also be red but also light green, light yellow, and a host of other colors. Keep in mind though that white eyes are more likely to occur with phone cameras. Since you've seen the problems with human eyes, getting any kind of success when the eye's color are nowhere near red. And with that in mind, what do you do with humans when their eyes are white, not red as shown below?


Like the two corgis with white eyes, the image above was also taken with an iPhone 6S. [Note: the specific camera is not the cause of these kinds of problems, any phone camera and/or Point & Shoot camera can cause this. Typically the further away the subjects are from the camera, the greater the likelihood that the above image will be the result.]

The good news is that the cure is the same for both types of image: When using ACR or LR, use the "Pet Eye" option. Below is the ACR option found on the right hand side of the ACR window.


In Lightroom the Red Eye/Pet Eye option is right below the Red Eye tool:


There is no Pet Eye option in Photoshop.

Working on the two corgis is just a manner of opening a JPEG, TIFF, or raw image into ACR or Lightroom, select the Pet Eye Tool and do a marquee around the errant eye (but admittedly this isn't half as fun as the original). Because of the image noise and a host of other issues, the results in THIS image are kind of creepy from the other direction.


So, ironically enough, using Pet Eye is very good for fixing "human white eye!" However, if any of the eyes are not sufficiently bright enough, even the Pet Eye will not work. The resolution for this is found in Photoshop. Below is from the the 2nd boy to the left. As you can see, his right eye is not as bright as his left eye. His left eye was fixed just fine.


To fix this, go into Photoshop and zoom way into the eye that needs to be fixed. To fix this use the Quick Selection Tool


and click on the light region in the eye.


At this point, either press the Shift key to add the medium intensity pixels or click on the "Always Add" option in the Tool "Options" region at the top of the screen (below the menus)


and fill in the rest of the lighter region. Then, once everything is selected, press Option + Delete keys to fill with your foreground color (which should be black). Note: if you do not add these "lighter" pixels, there will be a lighter ring around the black region and that will look very creepy.


[Note: if your foreground color is not black as below, simply press the "d" key (as in "default") and that will return the foreground and background colors to black and white.]

foreground-color.pngthen press the "d" key to get: foreground-color2.png

Anyhow, the results show that the combination of the two approaches work just fine.


So, after repairing all of the eyes (and doing a few other adjustments), we end up with


Now before I leave this subject, there is one health warning I must make: if you take a photo of a child and their eye (or eyes) are always white and never red, you may consider having their eyes examined by an eye doctor. White eyes are typically caused by the distance of the flash to the subject and/or a camera phone (a shorter distance at the right angle is likely to cause red eye). Cancer on the retina (retinoblastoma) can be the cause to constant white eye in kids under 5 (while very rare with adults, it can occur) but white eye with adults can indicate a cataract. The family above need not be worried by this one photo as it is extremely unlikely that an entire family is having a such a problem at the same time. The good news is that camera-caused white eye is extremely more likely than a health-caused problem.