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Arcus senilis: A sign of high cholesterol?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/arcus-senilis/AN01493
- With Mayo Clinic cardiologist
Thomas Behrenbeck, M.D., Ph.D.read biographyclose window
Thomas Behrenbeck, M.D., Ph.D.Thomas Behrenbeck, M.D.
Dr. Thomas Behrenbeck is a native of Germany, where he received his medical education at the Westfalian Wilhelm University in Munster and became board certified in internal medicine and cardiology.
He also received a Ph.D. in biophysics and physiology at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Behrenbeck joined the Mayo Clinic staff in 1990 and is currently an associate professor at Mayo Medical School and an academic faculty member at the Westfalian Wilhelm University. He is the past chair of the Cardiovascular Medicine & Surgery NetWork of the American College of Chest Physicians.
Dr. Behrenbeck is a noninvasive cardiologist, specializing in cardiovascular (CV) imaging modalities (echocardiography, nuclear cardiology and CT), coronary artery disease and prevention of coronary artery disease. His research interests are the application of imaging technology to early recognition and treatment of atherosclerosis. He is passionate about patients' involvement in their health issues.
"The Internet and patient education present ideal synergies in the ever-growing field of knowledge in cardiology," he says.
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Arcus senilis: A sign of high cholesterol?
What's the relationship between arcus senilis and high cholesterol?
from Thomas Behrenbeck, M.D., Ph.D.
CLICK TO ENLARGE
Arcus senilis (AHR-kus see-NIL-us) and the eye problems caused by high cholesterol are different.
Arcus senilis, also known as arcus cornealis, is a gray or white arc visible above and below the outer part of the cornea — the clear, dome-like covering over the front of the eye. Eventually, the arc may become a complete ring around the cornea.
Arcus senilis is common in older adults. It's caused by fat (lipid) deposits deep in the edge of the cornea. It isn't related to high cholesterol, however. Arcus senilis doesn't affect vision, nor does it require treatment.
Eye problems caused by high cholesterol are uncommon — typically affecting only people who have severe cases of high cholesterol and high triglycerides passed down through families (familial hyperlipidemia). High cholesterol is more likely associated with a similar gray or white arc visible around the entire cornea (circumferential arcus) in younger adults. Treatment is generally aimed at controlling cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
The average person who has high cholesterol doesn't develop an arc of any type. If you're concerned about eye health and high cholesterol, talk to your doctor.Next question
Cholesterol level: Can it be too low?
- Fernandez AB, et al. Relation of corneal arcus to cardiovascular disease (from the Framingham Heart Study Data Set). The American Journal of Cardiology. 2009;103:64.
- Wu R, et al. Cardiovascular risk factors, inflammation, and corneal arcus: The Singapore Malay Eye Study. American Journal of Ophthalmology. 2010;150:581.
- Zech LA, et al. Correlating corneal arcus with atherosclerosis in familial hypercholesterolemia. Lipids in Health and Disease. 2008;7:7.