High Cholesterol Symptoms & Eyes | 4 Effects of Cholesterol on Your Eyes

Commonly, when a person has an elevated cholesterol level, they may not be able to feel any apparent symptom.

High Cholesterol Symptoms & EyesElevated and unbalanced cholesterol levels can lead to different cardiovascular problems, and these conditions are often associated as high cholesterol symptoms.

In the absence of any disease resulting from prolonged elevation of cholesterol levels, a person may feel healthy and may not know that they are at risk. The only way that elevated cholesterol levels may be known with certainty is by having a cholesterol test. Adults above 20 years of age are advised to take this test at least once every 5 years.

However, even before having a cholesterol test, signs of high cholesterol levels in your blood may be visible in your eyes. Ophthalmologists that find these symptoms present in their patients will refer them for further testing.

What are these symptoms and what should you look out for in your eyes that can suggest that you have elevated levels of cholesterol?

4 Signs of Cholesterol Problems Seen in Your Eyes

1. Xanthelasma: One symptom that your doctor may see when you have your eye examined, while having elevated levels of cholesterol is Xanthelasma. This condition refers to the formation of a painless yellow growth along the eyelids.

Although the appearance of Xanthelasma isn’t normal, there is no cause for you to panic over it in terms of eye health and function. It is generally harmless and will not affect your sense of sight in any way. However, it may disrupt the features of your face and can create a disfiguring look. You can have it removed with the use of acids and laser treatment, but it can regrow if you aren’t able to correct the elevated cholesterol level in your blood.

2. Circumferential arcus: (Arcus senilis) As a person ages older, a circumferential arcus may develop in their eyes. This is characterized by a formation of a light gray arc or a ring around the edge of the cornea. Although it is normal in old people, it is not common for adults aging 45 years old and below.

The formation of circumferential arcus on individuals below the age of 45 years old, it is a sign that there is an elevation of cholesterol in the blood. The elevated levels can cause cholesterol to be deposited deep in your cornea.

3. Hollenhorst plaque: If your eye doctor gives you a dilated eye examination and find a shiny lesion, this may indicate the formation of Hollenhorst plaque within an artery supplying your eyes. This can be caused by increased levels of cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes.

It can cause partial or complete loss of vision, which is commonly temporary and may be resolved by properly managing your cholesterol levels.

4. Arteriosclerotic retinopathy: This results from occluding blood vessels that supplies the heart or your coronary arteries, and cerebral arteries that supply your brain. Build up of cholesterol deposits along the walls of the arteries supplying blood to the eyes can block the blood flow. The reduction of blood supply also reduces oxygen going to the tissues of the eyes. This can lead to the development of Arteriosclerotic retinopathy.

This can lead to retinal bleeding or cause fluids to ooze out. This can result in permanent eye damage if not treated immediately, and may eventually lead to loss of vision.

References:
> Skin growths – fatty; Xanthelasma
> Arcus senilis: A sign of high cholesterol?
> Hollenhorst plaques: retinal manifestations and the role of carotid endarterectomy. May 1990
> Arteriosclerotic retinopathy, WebMD.com


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