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High cholesterol: Lumps and an arc around the iris are two signs found in the eyes

Daily Express logo Daily Express 23/02/2021 Jessica Knibbs

High cholesterol levels are troublesome as it means there is too much 'bad' cholesterol floating in the blood, which can result in serious complications. The condition does not have any obvious symptoms in the early stages meaning many are unaware until it is too late. If, however, you experience any of these two symptoms found in the eyes, it could be an indicator your cholesterol may be dangerously high.

While there are few signs of high cholesterol, some people with the condition may develop small skin-coloured lumps around the corners of the eyelids, known as Xanthelasma.

While these lumps aren't harmful - the skin condition should not be ignored and should be checked out by doctors.

The condition is caused by a collection of yellowish cholesterol deposits underneath the skin around the eyes.

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Maria Mironova taking a selfie: High cholesterol: Signs in eyes © Getty Images High cholesterol: Signs in eyes

It is rare, but it is an indicator of high levels of cholesterol or other fats in the blood - but experts said it is also possible to get it even if cholesterol levels are normal.

High cholesterol causes the narrowing of the arteries - atherosclerosis - heart attack, stroke and peripheral arterial disease.

Cholesterol is a fatty substance known as a lipid and is vital for the normal functioning of the body. It's mainly made by the liver but can also be found in some foods.

High levels of cholesterol can create a build-up of plaque in the arteries which can block the flow of blood and increase your risk of heart attacks, strokes and aneurysms.


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If you also notice an arc or ring around the iris it could be a major warning sign of high cholesterol.

Arcus senilis is said to be more common in older adults, however, it does sometimes occur in younger people too.

For younger people who have severe cases of high cholesterol and high triglycerides in the family, arcus senilis may occur.

In people with familial hyperlipidaemia, the arc typically occurs before the age of 45 and is associated with an increased risk of heart disease.

a man and a woman looking at the camera: High cholesterol: Iris © Getty Images High cholesterol: Iris

Arcus senilis is a grey or white arc visible above and below the outer part of the cornea - the clear, domelike covering over the front of the eye, explained the Mayo Clinic.

The site added: "Eventually, the arc may become a complete ring around the coloured portion (iris) of your eye.

"Arcus senilis is common in older adults.

"It's caused by fat (lipid) deposits deep in the edge of the cornea."

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The best way to lower your cholesterol is to keep an eye on your diet and avoid eating animal-based saturated fats.

With no stepping stones between healthy cholesterol and high, many doctors recommend getting your cholesterol levels tested properly at least every five years, particularly if you are considered high risk.

This can be done with a simple blood test.

Basic cholesterol screens will measure just the total cholesterol level, which gives a general overview of your cholesterol situation.


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