What Does It Mean When You Have A Gray Ring Around Your Cornea?

The eyes are the window to the soul and to your health. Just by taking a look at your eyes and noticing any changes, you can spot certain health conditions and potential risks. And while issues like dry eyes or eye pain may be obvious signals to visit your doctor, other eye issues may go unnoticed.

Take corneal arcus, a condition where a gray arc or ring develops around the cornea, for example. According to Medical News Today, the condition first begins as a small arc at the top or bottom of the cornea and expands until it encircles the entire cornea.

This ring may first look like a unique beauty mark, creating an effect around the eye similar to some colored contact lenses. Depending on the person, it can appear gray, blue, or white in color. However, even if this light-colored ring looks pretty, the reason behind it is anything but.

A gray ring around your cornea could be a sign of heart problems

Corneal arcus can affect people of all ages and is often associated with high cholesterol levels in the body (via Verywell Health). In people 60 years and older, the arc itself is made of fat deposits around the eye, and for many, this is a normal part of aging, requiring no treatment. In fact, the American Academy of Ophthalmology states that most people will eventually develop the condition.

But in younger people, a gray ring is a sign of high cholesterol that may only worsen with time. As noted by WebMD, corneal arcus before your senior years could indicate a significant risk of heart disease and cholesterol problems. 

For young and middle-aged people noticing a grayish ring around their cornea, it's best to see an eye doctor for a thorough checkup. Not only will it ensure your eyes are okay, but it can provide some valuable insight into your heart health too.