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Arcus senilis: A sign of high cholesterol?

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Sep 28, 2019.

Arcus senilis is a gray or white arc visible above and below the outer part of the cornea — the clear, domelike covering over the front of the eye. Eventually, the arc may become a complete ring around the colored 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. Arcus senilis doesn't affect vision, nor does it require treatment.

When arcus senilis occurs in older adults, it isn't related to high cholesterol. However, an arc or ring around the iris sometimes occurs in younger people who have severe cases of high cholesterol and high triglycerides passed down through families (familial hyperlipidemia). In people with familial hyperlipidemia, this arc or ring typically occurs before age 45 and is associated with an increased risk of heart disease.

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