Corneal arch: what does the ring around the cornea mean?


Some people develop a gray, white, or bluish circle around all or part of the colored part of the eyeball (called the cornea ). The condition sometimes referred to as the "ring around the pupil" is officially known as the arch of the cornea . It can also be called arcus senilis in the elderly and arcus juvenilis in the young.

The corneal arch can appear as an arch above or below the cornea, or it can form a complete ring around the cornea. Although it is often considered benign, especially in the elderly, evidence suggests that it may serve as a predictor of heart disease in younger adults .

Afrodriguezg / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 4.0

About Arcus Senilis

Arcus senilis is common in the elderly. A whitish arch is caused by the deposition of fat (lipids) around the cornea. The condition is generally associated with higher cholesterol levels. The color change caused by arcus senilis does not affect vision or damage the eyes .

The corneal arch is more common in men than in women and in blacks than in whites. Its prevalence increases with age. It is associated with hypercholesterolemia, alcohol, hypertension (high blood pressure), smoking, diabetes, age, and coronary artery disease .

At the same time, the appearance of a senile arch at the age of 50 years is not associated with an increased risk of suffering from the disease. Rather, it reflects the expected incidence of hypertension, diabetes, and coronary heart disease in people in this age group.

About Arcus Juvenilis

Although considered relatively benign in older adults, most ophthalmologists recommend that people younger than 50 with a corneal arch be tested for hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol) and other lipid-related disorders.

A 2010 study from Boston University found that corneal arches younger than 45 years were associated with high levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol (an average of 133 mg / dL). Out of 3,890 adults with arcus juvenilis, one in ten has already received hypertensive therapy.

Also, at age 64, a study predicted that this same group of people would not only have excessively high LDL cholesterol (154 mg / dL), but also high triglycerides (115 mg / dL), high total cholesterol (232 mg / dL) . ) … and high systolic blood pressure (138 mm Hg). All these factors make it possible to predict IC and CVD.

When to contact your healthcare provider

Arcus senilis is a harmless disease for the elderly. The same goes for some changes in eye color. For example, a child's eye color can change and change again until they are 3 years old.

Other changes in eye color should be checked with an ophthalmologist or optometrist. For instance:

  • If the whites of your eyes turn yellow, you may have jaundice , a condition associated with liver problems.
  • Red eyes can also be associated with subconjunctival hemorrhage, a condition that is a symptom of diabetes, hypertension, or even leukemia.
  • Red spots can be a sign of sickle cell anemia, a benign tumor, or a cancerous one.
  • Pink eye (pink eye) is a highly contagious eye infection that can cause itching and pain.
  • Whitening or discoloration of the pupil can be a sign of cataracts.

Frequently asked questions

  • Corneal arch is a common condition in older adults in which deposits of fat and cholesterol around the outer edge of the cornea cause a bluish, whitish, or light gray ring. The corneal arch occurs in almost all men over 80 years old and women over 90 years old.

  • The corneal arch is known by other names, including senile arch, lipoid arch, fatty arch, corneal arch, and gerontoxone. If it occurs in people under the age of 50, it is called arcus juvenilis.

  • The corneal arch is caused by the leakage of lipoproteins, including cholesterol, from the capillaries surrounding the cornea into the cornea itself. The deposit consists primarily of "bad" low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol .

  • In older people, the corneal arch is generally considered benign if it occurs in both eyes. If it occurs in one eye, it could be a sign of carotid artery stenosis or a decrease in intraocular pressure , both of which require treatment. In people younger than 50 years old, a corneal arch is usually a sign of hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol).

  • Corneal arch is diagnosed by a physical examination of the eye performed by an ophthalmologist using a lighted oscilloscope called a slit lamp .

  • You will not do it. The corneal arch does not affect a person's vision and does not cause anything but cosmetic problems. However, in people under the age of 50, a corneal arch suggests that a lipid test is needed to determine if treatment is needed to lower cholesterol levels and, in turn, the risk of heart disease .

Related Articles
Choosing foods to diet after a heart attack

All cardiovascular specialists agree that a healthy diet is important to reduce the risk of coronary artery disease (CHD) Read more

Different types of hysterectomies.

A hysterectomy is the surgical removal of all or part of a woman's uterus . Hysterectomy is usually done Read more

Esthetician: experience, specialties and training

An esthetician is a person who specializes in cosmetic skin care. Cosmetologists (sometimes called estheticians ) are not medical Read more

Benefits, Side Effects, Dosages, and Interactions.

CBD oil is an extract from Cannabis indica or Cannabis sativa , the same plants that produce marijuana when Read more