In this particular episode of Ask an Eye Doc, you will learn:
- What is arcus senilis
- How cholesterol can cause the appearance of eye color change
- What to do if your eye color is changing over time
This episode will make more sense if you have already listened to the following episodes:
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For you readers out there, here’s the answer in written form:
Tammy has a question about her husband’s eyes changing color. The man she married had brown eyes, but lately, his eye color has been turning blue. She’s okay with the change but wants to know why this might be happening.
Well, Tammy, first I want to let you know I do not diagnose or treat eye conditions over a podcast. That would not be good for either your husband or for me.
What I can do is give you some ideas and information as to what might be happening, and urge your husband to contact his optometrist or schedule an eye exam if it’s been longer than one year since his last comprehensive eye exam.
I may not be right, but most likely your husband has a condition called arcus senilis. Arcus senilis is one of the most common age-related corneal degenerations. In fact, the term “senilis” shares the same root as the word “senile”, meaning age-related.
Often it happens without any underlying systemic condition. However, it can happen in individuals who have high cholesterol.
What happens with arcus senilis is cholesterol slowly deposits around the edges of your cornea. It usually starts at the bottom and the top of your cornea and arcs around until a full whitish-bluish ring circles the eye.
Because the deposits are located in the cornea, which is in front of your iris, it can appear as though your eye color is changing over time. People usually report the color change as being blue.
You can see what I’m talking about by doing a simple online image search for arcus senilis.
Once you have corneal arcus, it doesn’t go away. In fact, it will probably become more prominent over time. It doesn’t ever affect the vision, but it may be a sign that your cholesterol levels are too high.
Your yearly eye exam
There are other things than can cause your eye color to change, and it’s important for everyone to have a yearly eye exam. Make sure your husband follows up with his optometrist to make sure he doesn’t have a different eye condition that is affecting his eye color.
If his eye doctor confirms he has arcus senilis, you’ll want him to follow up with his family doctor as well to rule out any cholesterol issues.
Hope that helps!