Everything You Should Know About Cholesterol Deposits in Your Eye

Cholesterol Deposits Around Eyes

If you have ever been diagnosed with xanthomatosis or cholestasis, then you are aware of the fact that these conditions cause a buildup of fat around your eyeballs. These fats can form into hard lumps called “cholesterol deposits”. They may even become so large that they block the cornea completely. There are several treatments available to treat these diseases.

Some involve surgery while others require medication and dietary changes.

There are two main types of cholesterol deposits: free and bound. Free cholesterol is found in foods such as eggs, fish, nuts, seeds and dairy products. Bound cholesterol is formed when triglycerides (fatty acids) from the diet combine with LDL (“bad”) cholesterol from the blood stream. These fatty acids are known as “good” or “healthy” fats because they keep our bodies healthy by keeping us at a certain weight.

However, they do not provide all the protection against heart disease or other ailments that occur due to excess body fat.

Free cholesterol is considered safe to eat since it does not contribute to any health problems. However, there are some studies showing that eating too much saturated fat increases the risk of developing coronary artery disease. Other research shows that consuming high amounts of polyunsaturated fats increase the risk of having a stroke and other cardiovascular events. In the long term, high cholesterol can cause blockages in the arteries, increase the risk of heart disease and lead to serious health conditions.

People with high cholesterol levels can experience a number of different symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain and an irregular heartbeat. There are some people who avoid these problems by making a few lifestyle changes. These changes involve increasing exercise and eating foods that are low in cholesterol. There are also many pharmaceutical drugs that lower cholesterol.

These drugs include HMG CoA reductase inhibitors, bile acid sequestrants and nicotinic acid derivatives.

Cholesterol deposits can also be caused by other underlying medical conditions such as hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Cushing’s syndrome, diabetes mellitus, acromegaly, cirrhosis of the liver or renal disease. Having a family history of these diseases can increase your risk of getting them in the future. There are also some drugs that can cause cholesterol deposits to form such as anabolic steroids, estrogen therapy, corticosteroids, isoprenaline, lithium and birth control pills.

Preventing Cholesterol Deposits

There are several things you can do to help lower your cholesterol levels and prevent cholesterol deposits from forming.

A dietician can help you develop a healthy eating plan by focusing on foods low in saturated and trans fats, cholesterol and sodium. You should also eat foods high in soluble fiber which helps decrease the amount of cholesterol absorbed by your body.

Exercise at least three to five times a week for 30 minutes. Start out slow and gradually increase your activity level as your body adjusts.

If you smoke, find out how to quit. Tobacco use increases the risk of coronary heart disease and causes high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes. Quitting now can prevent future health problems.

Manage stress in your life. This includes getting enough sleep, engaging in relaxation techniques and doing things you enjoy.

Undergoing dental procedures such as teeth cleanings, tooth removal or even traumatic injuries can cause blood to pool in your gums which increases your risk of developing cholesterol deposits around the teeth. Receiving various medical treatments or taking certain types of medication can also cause this condition. It is important to maintain good overall health and make changes to your diet and lifestyle when necessary.

If your cholesterol deposits do not improve or you develop symptoms, you may need to seek medical treatment. Your physician will assess the artery that corresponds to the particular deposit and begin treatment based on what condition it is in. For example, if plaque has built up but not yet hardened, a lipid-lowering drug such as a statin may be prescribed. If it has already hardened, surgery or a procedure such as balloon angioplasty and stenting or bypass surgery may be necessary.

Dietary Cholesterol and Saturated Fats in Foods

Many people are concerned about their cholesterol intake and try to keep it as low as possible. Eating foods that contain high amounts of cholesterol can raise your blood cholesterol level, which may increase your risk of developing heart disease. However, not all foods that contain high amounts of cholesterol are unhealthy. For example, most types of fish contain cholesterol but are also high in omega-3 fatty acids, which help to reduce the risk of heart disease.

The American Heart Association recommends eating foods low in saturated fats and cholesterol. Saturated fats are linked to heart disease and consuming less of them can decrease your risk of this condition. Foods that contain high amounts of saturated fat include red meats such as beef, pork and lamb as well as butter, cheese, pizza, fried foods and desserts.

Some foods that contain high amounts of cholesterol are also high in saturated fat, while others contain more unsaturated fat. The saturated fat in these foods can increase the level of cholesterol in your blood, which may increase your risk for heart disease. Foods that contain high amounts of cholesterol but not necessarily high amounts of saturated fat include shellfish, organ meats such as liver and other animal proteins. Foods that contain high amounts of both cholesterol and saturated fat include shrimp, crab, lobster, pork, beef, veal, regular cheese, butter and cream.

The amount of cholesterol you eat each day is not as important as the amount of saturated fats in your diet. While many people focus on the foods they should restrict or avoid altogether, it is also important to focus on eating a healthy diet that is rich in certain nutrients that can help prevent heart disease. A diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and fish can help to lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease.

Because the body needs a certain amount of cholesterol to function properly, eating foods that contain this nutrient is not unhealthy. However, regularly consuming large amounts of cholesterol can definitely be harmful. The only time when you should be especially conscious of your cholesterol intake is if your doctor has told you that you are at high risk for heart disease. If this is the case, ask your doctor about how much cholesterol you should be eating on a regular basis.

The following foods contain high amounts of cholesterol but, remember, the amount of cholesterol you eat is not as important as the amount of saturated fat and other nutrients in the food.

Foods High in Cholesterol and Saturated Fats (in descending order by cholesterol content):

1. Herring, Atlantic

2. Mackerel, Atlantic

3. Salmon, Atlantic

4. Trout, farmed

5. Catfish

6. Eel, unprepared

7. Halibut, Atlantic and Pacific

8. Lobster

9. Crabmeat, Alaskan king and Dungeness

10. Cod, Atlantic

11. Pollock, Atlantic

12. Snapper, Atlantic

13. Perch, Atlantic

14. Haddock, Atlantic

15. Tilapia, farmed

16. Trout, wild

17. Swordfish

18. Tuna, bluefin

19. Mackerel, Spanish, chub

20. Sardines, canned Atlantic

21. Anchovy, European

22. Shark

23. Mussels, blue

24. Lamb, Australian, imported

25. Lamb, New Zealand, imported

26. Turkey, dark meat (ground and steak)

27. Veal, imported

28. Rabbit, domestic

29. Goose, wild

30. Emu

31. Beef, ground, 20% fat

32. Lamb, domestic

33. Pork, ground, 15% fat

34. Duck, heavy meat

35. Chicken, dark and light meat (with skin)

36. Mackerel, Spanish, canned

37. Pike, Northern

38. Snail, commonlands

39. Trout, rainbow

40. Tuna, canned in oil

41. Eel, freshwater

42. Mussels, giant

43. Scallops, prepared/preserved

44. Shrimp, prepared/preserved


Sources & references used in this article:

Detection of cholesterol deposits in arteries by M Savic – US Patent 5,327,893, 1994 – Google Patents

Extraction and analysis of RPE layer from OCT images for detection of age related macular degeneration by MM Sharif, MU Akram, AW Malik – 2018 IEEE 20th International …, 2018 – ieeexplore.ieee.org

Prevalence and significance of subretinal drusenoid deposits (reticular pseudodrusen) in age-related macular degeneration by SA Zweifel, Y Imamura, TC Spaide, T Fujiwara… – Ophthalmology, 2010 – Elsevier

Windows into Wellness: Eight Biomarkers You Should Know: Expert advice from a pathologist can help you uncover the root cause of disease by S Richer, K Gelb, R Jaffe – Review of Optometry, 2018 – go.gale.com

Inter‐embodiment and the experience of genetic testing for familial hypercholesterolaemia by N Jenkins, J Lawton, M Douglas… – … of health & illness, 2013 – Wiley Online Library

Sub-retinal drusenoid deposits in human retina: organization and composition by M Rudolf, G Malek, JD Messinger, ME Clark… – Experimental eye …, 2008 – Elsevier

Ocular manifestations of familial hypercholesterolemia by FC Blodi, JC Yarbrough – Transactions of the American …, 1962 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov