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Cholesterol is a sneaky condition because it discreetly raises a person’s risk of heart disease, an umbrella term for conditions that narrow or block blood vessels. Specifically, LDL – also known as the “bad” cholesterol – performs this deadly function. It does this by causing the build-up of fatty deposits within the arteries, thereby reducing or blocking the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart. When this occurs a person’s risk for having a heart attack increases. By being aware of your body’s signs warning your cholesterol levels are dangerously high, you can take the appropriate precautions to help lower your levels and as such lower your risk. Noticing changes in your eyes is one of those of those warning signs.
Arcus senilis is the medical term for when a person has a half-circle of grey, white, or yellow deposits in the outer edge of their cornea which is the clear outer layer on the front of your eye.
It’s made of fat and cholesterol deposits and is sometimes referred to as corneal arcus.
Arcus senilis is more common in older adults and is usually caused by ageing.
However, for younger people who have noticed this strange phenomenon in their eyes it may be related to high cholesterol levels.
Symptoms of arcus senilis
If you have arcus senilis, you’ll notice a white or grey half-circle both on the upper and lower areas of your cornea, said Healthline.
The health site continued: “The half-circle will have a sharp outer border and a fuzzy inner border.
“The lines may eventually fill in to form a complete circle around your iris, which is the coloured part of your eye.
“You likely won’t have any other symptoms. The circle shouldn’t affect your vision.”
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What the study said
In a study published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, corneal arcus was further investigated.
“The corneal arcus consists of cholesterol, phospholipids and triglycerides,” noted the study.
It added: “As serum triglyceride is one of the accurate of lipid metabolic state, greater importance was given, and it was found to be elevated in 72 percent of patients and a positive correlation with increasing age.
“This suggests a strong correlation between impairment of lipid metabolism and incidence of corneal arcus.
“The presence of arcus was noted in 70 percent of patients above 60 years of age.
“The probable reason is the increased permeability of limbal vessels with age allowing low-density lipoproteins to pass through the cornea.
“There was no correlation between the thickening of the peripheral arteries or increased diastolic blood pressure with the incidence of arcus.
“As serum triglyceride is one of the accurate of lipid metabolic state, greater importance was given, and it was found to be elevated in 72 percent of patients and a positive correlation with increasing age.”
The study concluded that fasting serum triglyceride, one of the accurate indices of functional status of lipid metabolism was raised in 72 percent of cases suggesting a strong correlation between impairment of lipid metabolism and incidence of corneal arcus.
What the expert said
Professor Dan Reinstein, ophthalmic surgeon for the London Vision Clinic, said a condition called Arcus Senilis could indicate high cholesterol.
He said: “Patients can experience a white, grey or blue opaque ring around the cornea; this is a condition called Arcus Senilis.
“It is quite common in elderly people and in some, can be indicative of high cholesterol and possible heart and stroke risk.”
Fortunately, high cholesterol can be lowered by making a few changes to your lifestyle and by adopting a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and cutting out processed foods, deli meats and sodium you can lower your cholesterol.
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