Cholesterol Can Pose Vision Risk

We all know that cholesterol can cause problems for heart health. But did you know that high levels of cholesterol can be harmful to your eyes?
The good news about all this is that an eye exam can not only see how your vision is but also spot if you have high cholesterol. If you have ever thought your eyes were changing color, you might be seeing an accumulation of cholesterol in your cornea. The cornea is clear on a healthy person, but someone with high cholesterol may see a gray or white circle on the edges. And, cholesterol can be seen in the arteries of your eyes that are visible after you have had your eyes dilated.  
Cholesterol in your eyes can you put at a higher risk for glaucoma. A study with more than 136,000 participants focused on 866 people with glaucoma. The scientists saw that “for every 20-point increase in total cholesterol, there was a seven percent increase in glaucoma risk.” The good news is that controlling cholesterol and lowering levels appeared to reduce that risk by 21 percent. Glaucoma can put pressure on your optic nerve that causes permanent vision impairment.
Cholesterol can also accumulate on the eyelids as yellow bumps. They frequently grow symmetrically on each eye. Cholesterol deposits around the eye are called xanthelasmata. They don’t harm vision or the eyelid. But they can be surgically removed for cosmetic reasons. If you see them, go to your doctor as it could be a sign of a more serious underlying problem.
We all think of eye exams as just being about glasses, but ophthalmologists can also detect multiple sclerosis, high blood pressure and diabetes. It’s incredible how interconnected health is. That’s why regular visits to doctors are so important. Dentists, ophthalmologists, your primary care doctor and any other health professionals you might visit can all work together to build a comprehensive health plan. Your body is a living machine, and knowing what’s happening to your complicated engine is so important. That’s why you should always tell your doctors about any medications or supplements you’re taking to make sure nothing interreacts with something a different doctor gave you.
If you have high cholesterol, you may wish to speak to your ophthalmologist about your risks for glaucoma. Some people are more likely to develop the condition than others. If you know your chances now, it can help you plan for later.
October 04, 2019

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