High cholesterol signs around your eye – why you shouldn’t ignore this change in your skin

Dr Chris reveals how eyes can indicate high cholesterol levels

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Millions of Britons have high cholesterol levels, with some estimates placing the number at a whopping 40 percent of the population. Primarily caused by a fatty diet and not enough exercise, high cholesterol is a dangerous health condition that can lead to heart disease, cardiac arrest or a stroke. But do you know the symptoms in your eyes to look out for?

Your body needs cholesterol to function, however high cholesterol is where you have too much ‘bad’ cholesterol in your bloodstream.

The ‘bad’ cholesterol leads to fatty deposits in your blood, which causes fatty build-ups in your arteries, making it harder for your heart to pump blood around your body.

High cholesterol is sometimes nicknamed the ‘silent killer’ due to its lack of symptoms: which is why it is so important to get your cholesterol checked regularly.

However, some noticeable symptoms of your cholesterol climbing up are changes to your eyes and the skin around them.

If you notice any of these conditions in and around your eyes, don’t write it off.

Make sure you see your doctor, or arrange a cholesterol reading at your local pharmacy.

Lumps near the eye

Make sure you see your doctor, or arrange a cholesterol reading at your local pharmacy.

The most common eye condition related to high cholesterol is developing what looks like a small skin tag near your eye.

This small lump can appear yellow in colour, or just be a raised area of your skin.

These lumps are actually called xanthelasmas.

They are caused by very high levels of cholesterol creating small fatty deposits in the skin.

Eyes changing colour

High cholesterol can mean you develop a condition called arcus senilis.

Arcus senilis means you develop a coloured ring of blue, grey or white around your iris.

This can be a sign high cholesterol is affecting your cornea.

Arcus senilis isn’t always a sign of high cholesterol, but it’s worth getting checked out by a specialist if you notice discolouration around your pupil.

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Retinal vein occlusion

Your retina is the part of the back of your eye that turns light into electrical signals, and then sends those signals to the brain so you can see images.

The retina needs a healthy flow of blood to function properly, supplied by the retinal vein and retinal artery.

However, like other arteries in your body, the retinal artery can become blocked by high levels of cholesterol causing a retinal vein occlusion or an “eye stroke”.

If this happens, your eye can become swollen, affecting your central vision.

The symptoms are:

  • Changed or blurred vision in one eye
  • Pain in your eye
  • Seeing “floaters”

If you suspect you might have a retinal vein occlusion, get medical help right away, as this could cause permanent vision loss.

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