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Xanthelasma

Key Facts

Xanthelasma plaques are harmless. They do not affect vision or impair eye movements. These lesions can gradually become larger over time.

Although they are harmless lesions, Xanthelasma is a tell-tale sign of high triglycerides and bad cholesterol levels in your blood.

Xanthelasma, commonly known as Cholesterol deposits or spots are easily recognisable. They appear as soft, distinct yellow plaques on the inner surface of the upper or lower eyelids. The plaques contain fats and are usually symmetrical. They can be unsightly.

Xanthelasma plaques are harmless. They do not affect vision or impair eye movements. These lesions can gradually become larger over time.

Although they are harmless lesions, Xanthelasma is a tell-tale sign of high triglycerides and bad cholesterol levels in your blood. This condition is known as Dyslipidaemia. Xanthelasma has been identified as a marker for an increased risk of atherosclerosis. However, Xanthelasma can occur in patients with a normal lipid profile.

Grade I comprised patients who presented with lesions on the upper eyelids only. Grade II comprised patients whose lesions extended to the medial canthal area. Grade III comprised patients with lesions on the medial side of the upper and lower eyelids. Grade IV comprised patients whose lesions were diffuse, with involvement of the medial and lateral sides of the upper and lower eyelids.1

  • Genetics: familial hypertriglyceridemia
  • Lifestyle factors: diets high in saturated fats and low in unsaturated fats, excess alcohol intake, lack of cardiovascular exercise/activities, unhealthy weight gain and smoking.
  • Iatrogenic causes: Medication such as oral contraceptive pills, beta-blockers, steroids and antiepileptic drugs.
  • Medical conditions: hypothyroidism, diabetes mellitus and kidney disease

Our priority is to reduce the triglyceride and cholesterol levels in the bloodstream. This in turn reduces your cardiovascular risk and also reduce the chances of developing Xanthelasma.

Doctors will always advocate lifestyle changes first to help lower your cholesterol levels. Lifestyle changes include avoiding fatty foods and maintaining a well-balanced diet of proteins, good fats and fibre. There are some super foods that reduce the absorption of cholesterol such as oats, whole grains, apples, vegetables such as eggplants and ladies’ fingers.

Regular cardio exercises are highly encouraged. Exercise keeps your heart healthy and also helps shed the unwanted weight associated with high blood cholesterol levels. If you are a smoker, quit smoking. If you do consume alcohol, it is best to drink in moderation.

If lifestyle modification is unable to help reduce your cholesterol levels, your doctor will prescribe medications such as statins help lower your LDL levels.

Yes, they can. GEM Clinic offers both ablation with lasers as well as surgical resection of the plaques. We use lasers to ablate smaller lesions, while bigger ones can be treated with surgical resection. Healing is fast and scarring is minimal.

Yes, they can if your cholesterol levels are not controlled. It is highly advisable you adhere to the advice of the doctor on managing dyslipidaemia.

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