Arcus senilis

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Arcus senilis
ICD-10 H18.4
ICD-9 371.41
OMIM 107800
DiseasesDB 17120
MeSH C11.204.299.070

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [2]

Keywords and Synonyms: arcus corneae, arcus cornealis, Arcus senilis corneae, arcus adiposus, arcus juvenilis (when it occurs in younger individuals), arcus lipoides corneae


Arcus senilis is a white or gray opaque ring in the corneal margin peripheral (corneal) opacity, present at birth, or appearing later in life, and becoming quite frequent in those over 50; it results from cholesterol deposits in or hyalinosis of the corneal stroma and may be associated with ocular defects or with familial hyperlipidemia. Unilateral arcus senilis can be due to decreased blood flow to the affected eye due to carotid artery disease or ocular hypotonia.In younger people, the same condition is termed as arcus juvenilis.[1]


It can be a sign of disturbance in lipid metabolism, an indicator of conditions such as hypercholesterolemia, hyperlipoproteinemia or hyperlipidemia.

Natural History, Complications, Prognosis

No Association with Atherosclerosis

In the past, arcus has been said to be associated with atherosclerosis. However, a prospective population based cohort study (The Copenhagen City Heart Study), in which a total of 12,745 participants who were free of ischemic heart disease and aged 20-93 years were followed for a mean of 22 years casts doubt on this association [2]. The mulivariate adjusted risk (hazard/odds ratios adjusted for confounders including cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations) indicated that arcus senilins was not an independent risk factor for atherosclerotic heart disease.


  1. [1]
  2. Christofferson et al. Xanthelasmata, arcus corneae, and ischaemic vascular disease and death in general population: prospective cohort studyBMJ 2011; 343:d5497

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