Arcus senilis is a harmless eye condition mostly observed in elderly individuals. It is characterized by formation of gray or yellowish ring around the periphery of cornea. The ring in majority of people is present in both the eyes. In random cases the circular ring may be seen only in one eye.
Cornea is a transparent dome shaped front part of the eye. Light enters through cornea into the deeper structures of eye. Arcus senilis is made up of cholesterol deposits. Initially the deposits are present at 6 and 12 O’clock position of the circle, but gradually the deposits form a circular ring. Men are more prone to arcus senilis than women.
Although the condition does not disrupt vision, the ring has medical significance if it is present in people below the age of 40. It may be an indication of high cholesterol level in blood. These persons should be more careful and consider consulting their physician as they may be at risk of suffering from coronary artery disease at younger age.
What Are The Causes Of Arcus Senilis?
Arcus senilis is a circular ring in the periphery of cornea. It is made up of cholesterol deposits. Majority of people over the age of 70 or 80 develop gray or yellowish circular ring around the corneal periphery. Corneal arcus is more common in people of Asian and African origin as compared to Caucasians.
As compared to women, men are more susceptible to develop arcus senilis. The prevalence of arcus increases with growing age both in men and women. The peripheral corneal opaque ring is also common finding in people who smoke or have high blood pressure since many years.
As the ring is formed of crystals of lipid deposits, formation of arcus senilis in people under the age of 40 may be an indication of hyperlipidemia. Familial history of coronary cardiac disease and hypertension is often found in those under 40 who have arcus senilis.
Symptoms Of Arcus Senilis
Arcus senilis is a harmless condition and it does not produce any symptoms, except for the obvious opaque ring in front portion of the eye. The ring can be seen with naked eye. However, in some cases if it is mild arc, the ring can be better visualized by an ophthalmologist with his eye instruments.
In most cases arcus senilis is present in both the eyes. However, in few cases the ring may be seen only in one eye. In such cases the possibility of reduced blood circulation in uninvolved eye is to be thought of.
How To Get Rid Of Arcus Senilis?
An old person having arcus senilis does not require any treatment as it does not cause any harm to the body or the eyesight. However, if the corneal arcus is present in a person below the age of 40, he has to be careful. He should do preliminary blood tests for cholesterol and triglyceride to rule out hypercolesteremia.
Although it has no confirmatory evidence, studies have suggested such persons have higher risk of suffering from coronary artery disease. The risk even increases when these persons have zanthalesma under the eyes. They are deposits of fats under the eyes due to high cholesterol in blood.
If arcus senilis is present only in one eye, it may indicate less supply of blood to another eye.