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Eye and Vision Care

Unusual Change of Eye Color

07/05/2007

Question:

My eyes were originally so dark that my nickname was "Blackie." Around age 50 I started to notice a blue ring around both irises. I have looked up arcus senilis, but the pictures show a cloudy whitish opacity. The rings around my irises are blue, clearly deliniated, and seem to be clear. My mother`s eyes were blue and my father`s were very dark, like mine. Is this a loss of pigment, or is this an unusual arcus senilis? My thanks for your reply

Answer:

It sounds like arcus senilis. The presentation can be different in different eyes. These are cholesterol deposits in the peripheral cornea. The iris is situated behind the cornea, which makes it appear as though the iris is being affected but it's just being partially obscured by the whitish-gray deposits as they develop.

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Response by:

Cynthia Gale Heard, OD Cynthia Gale Heard, OD
Formerly
Assistant Professor, Clinical Optometry
College of Optometry
The Ohio State University