High cholesterol is a serious health issue that affects many people worldwide. It can be caused by excessive consumption of unhealthy foods, leading to the buildup of lipids or fats in the bloodstream. Too much fat in your blood leads to high cholesterol levels and can damage arteries and lead to heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular illnesses. However, high cholesterol may also manifest through physical symptoms such as spotting around the eyes- often referred to as “cholesterol spots” -an early warning sign that something serious could be wrong with your health if they are not monitored. In this article, we’ve rounded up a few critical warning signs to watch for so that if – and when – they present themselves, you can consult your doctor right away!


One such symptom to be aware of is xanthelasma, which presents itself as small yellow or orange deposits that appear around your eyelids. These fatty deposits are made up of cholesterol and are potentially indicative of a high cholesterol level. Usually harmless and painless, these patches can become painful or begin to spread if left untreated. Though they do not directly affect eyesight, they are still an important sign to look out for when measuring overall cholesterol levels. If you start to notice these patches in and around your eyes, make sure you speak with your doctor to learn more about them and the next steps for keeping your cholesterol in check.

Arcus Senilis

Arcus senilis is a visible, grayish arc or opaque gray ring around the eye’s cornea linked to high cholesterol. It affects the elderly more than younger people and may be symptoms of high cholesterol in those over age 50 if seen in both eyes. This condition can indicate an underlying lipid abnormality, so it’s important to get this symptom checked by a doctor, as high levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke. Understanding what high cholesterol symptoms look like and taking action on high cholesterol levels early are important steps towards good overall health.

Retinal Vein Occlusion

Retinal Vein Occlusion (RVO) is a potentially serious condition that can cause vision loss or even blindness. It occurs when the veins that supply blood to the retina become blocked. Moreover, high cholesterol levels are also common in people with this condition. Symptoms of high cholesterol related to RVO may include blurry vision, difficulty seeing at night, or changes in the side vision. If you are at risk for high cholesterol, it is important to check your vision regularly and make necessary changes to your diet and lifestyle. Early detection and management of high cholesterol can help reduce the risk of damage to your eyes and affected vision related to retinal vein occlusion.

Hollenhorst Plaque

Although high cholesterol is typically associated with high blood pressure and heart-related conditions, certain rare symptoms affecting the eyes or vision may sometimes be related. One of these symptoms, known as Hollenhorst Plaque, is a usually very small crystal formation that can form in an artery of the eye due to high cholesterol deposits. If it goes unnoticed, this condition can lead to blurred vision and eventually even more serious damage to the eye – like tissue damage or retinal detachment, which unfortunately can have permanent consequences. Therefore, if you think you may have high cholesterol, it’s important to get your eyes checked out too.

When to See a Doctor

If high cholesterol symptoms are present around your eyes, you must schedule an appointment with your doctor for a check-up. Adopting a healthy lifestyle and following a good diet can join you in the right direction of preventing high cholesterol. Eating high-fiber fruits, and vegetables and limiting red meat and processed foods will contribute immensely to better health. If you need additional assistance and guidance in this area, our EPIC Heart & Vascular Center professionals are here to help. Give us a call today for preventive care and more – we’re just a few digits away.