High cholesterol levels could be deadly and can result in blockage or damage to arteries causing life-threatening conditions like heart attack and stroke. While cholesterol, a wax like substance, is naturally produced in the body, eating a diet rich in saturated fats and sugar can result in high levels of it in the blood and can cause symptoms like chest tightness, shortness of breath, jaw pain etc. This vascular damage can reflect in many body parts like your eyes, skin, or face. (Also read: High cholesterol: Watch out for these warning signs that appear on skin)
While these deadly conditions are manifested much later, one may spot early signs of high cholesterol easily in their eyes. Changes in the color of your eyes, appearance of eyelids, dark lines in the vision can all point to increased levels of bad cholesterol and need to be addressed.
First changes are seen in the appearance of your eyes and vision. Blurry vision, grey, white and yellow deposits around the cornea, yellow bumps around your eyes can all indicate worrying levels of high cholesterol.
Dr Labdhi Shah, MS Ophthalmologist and Neuro- Ophthalmologist, Eyeconic Eye Clinic, Ahmedabad reveals some common signs of cholesterol in your eyes:
People with high cholesterol often have a common eye symptom which is known as xanthelasma — a raised or flat yellowish area that forms around the eyes or close to the nose. Cholesterol build-up under the skin results in deposits. However, this condition does not affect the vision. Nearly, 50 per cent of people with xanthelasma tend to have high cholesterol.
The condition commonly occurs in people who are smokers, overweight, have high blood pressure, and diabetes.
Retinal Vein Occlusion
The retina happens to be a light-sensitive tissue located at the back of the eye. It receives the supply of blood through the retinal artery and retinal vein. When the lipid breaks and blocks the vein, the condition is known as retinal vein occlusion. When the artery is blocked, the condition is called a retinal artery occlusion which is also known as a stroke.
The symptoms of this condition are:
• Change in vision in one eye
• Blurry vision in one eye
• Dark lines or spots in the vision (floaters)
• Pain in the affected eye
The condition is more common in people aged 50 or over. It also commonly occurs in people who tend to have diabetes, glaucoma, high blood pressure and hardening of the arteries.
In this condition, a white, blue or gray ring forms around the periphery of the cornea as more cholesterol deposits in the cornea. The ring appears around the colored part of the eye or the iris. While you may think that the iris has two colours, but it’s only a discolouration. But the ring doesn’t affect your vision. The condition mostly occurs in middle-aged people.
The cholesterol that deposits around the eyes can be removed surgically. The growths usually do not result in any discomfort or pain, so mostly a person requests the removal of the deposits due to cosmetic reasons.
Here are some surgical options:
• Carbon dioxide and argon laser ablation
• Surgical excision
• Chemical cauterization
In some cases, your doctor may also prescribe medications to lower the cholesterol levels in the blood.
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