Have you ever looked closely at your eyes and thought that they were not both the same color? Or have you seen two different colors in one of your eyes? Perhaps you have a white or blue-grey ring around your cornea that makes your iris, the colored part of the eye, appear lighter? Most people don’t have multicolored eyes, but if you do here is what you should know.
Arcus senilis appears as a white, gray, or blue ring or arc around the cornea of the eye. The condition is usually seen in older adults but can affect people of all ages, even appearing at birth.
Arcus senilis is generally harmless, although it can sometimes be a sign of high cholesterol in people under 45 years of age.
In this article, we take a look at the causes and risk factors for arcus senilis, along with what can be done to treat it.
Arcus senilis is also known as arcus senilis corneae. In people under 40 years old, it can also be known as arcus juvenilis.
Those affected by this eye condition will notice a half circle, full circle, or arc around the cornea of their eye. The cornea is the clear, dome-like front part of the eye.
The arc or circle is usually white, gray, or blue in color. It forms in front of the iris, which is the colored part of the eye.
Although the appearance of arcus senilis can be alarming, it is usually not considered to be a danger to a person’s health or a sign that vision is deteriorating.
However, visiting a doctor will ensure that there are no hidden causes that could lead to further health complications if the eye change is left untreated.
The vast majority of people affected by arcus senilis are older adults, as the main cause of the condition is aging.
In fact, nearly 100 percent of people over 80 years old will be affected. Around 60 percent of people over 60 years of age will also have this condition.
Arcus senilis occurs due to fat deposits, often referred to as lipids, forming in the outer part of the cornea. Fats in the blood come from fatty foods in a person’s diet and are also produced by the liver.
Cholesterol is one type of fat that appears in the blood. However, the occurrence of arcus senilis does not necessarily mean that someone has high cholesterol.
The blood vessels in the eyes widen with age. As someone ages, their blood vessels allow more cholesterol and other fats to build up in the eye.
If arcus senilis appears in people under the age of 40 years old, doctors will carry out a test to check for high cholesterol.
If a person is found to have high cholesterol, this may be due to lifestyle factors or an inherited condition known as Schnyder central crystalline dystrophy. This condition causes cholesterol crystals to build up in the central cornea along with arcus senilis in the peripheral cornea.
Although arcus senilis is a common condition, it is more likely to occur in men. It is also possible for infants to be born with arcus senilis, but this is extremely rare.
For most people, arcus senilis is no cause for concern, and it will appear eventually in almost everyone who reaches old age.
This can be easily diagnosed with a regular eye exam. That’s why it’s so important to get a regular eye exam not only to check your vision, but your overall health of your eyes.