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Xanthelasma

Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen MartinReviewed on 19.10.2023 | 3 minutes read
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Xanthelasma are fat deposits around the eyes, usually found near the inner corner of the eye and the inner upper eyelid. They tend to look slightly paler than the person's skin tone, and the lumps can vary in size. They are harmless themselves, but can represent a high level of cholesterol (a type of fat) in the body, although this is not always the case. Higher levels of cholesterol in the body can increase your risk of heart problems.

They do not need to be removed from around the eyes but can be removed for cosmetic reasons by a variety of methods, such as excision, laser, chemical, or freezing.

When should I see my doctor?

You may be aware that elevated cholesterol levels can pose health risks.

Here are some guidelines on when to consider seeing your doctor regarding xanthelasma:

  • If you haven't had a recent lipid profile test, and especially if you have other risk factors for cardiovascular disease, it would be advisable to consult your doctor. You should book a routine visit with your doctor if you notice you have xanthelasma, this is in order to test the level of fats (lipids) in your blood to see if you have increased levels. They can assess your cholesterol levels and provide guidance on managing them.
  • Individuals with conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, or a family history of cardiovascular diseases should be particularly vigilant. Xanthelasma could be an indicator of increased risk in such cases.
  • If you observe any changes in the size, color, or texture of the xanthelasma, it's important to consult your doctor promptly. Changes could indicate an evolving medical condition that requires attention.
  • If xanthelasma is causing cosmetic concerns or impacting your self-esteem, discussing these concerns with your doctor is entirely valid. They can provide information about potential treatment options or refer you to a specialist if necessary.
  • You should see your doctor if you have any pain or redness of the eyes or changes in vision.

What will my doctor do?

The doctor will ask you about your medical history, your family history, and about your current symptoms. They will examine the lumps around your eyes. The doctor will do a blood test to check your lipid levels and will also assess whether you have any increased cardiovascular risk (heart and blood vessels).

If you do have an increased level of certain lipids in your blood, the doctor may suggest dietary changes and possibly medication that can help lower levels, which will, in turn, lower the risk of your blood vessels becoming clogged. This will reduce your risk of having a stroke, heart attack, or other problems in the future.

Am I fit for work?

You are fit for work if you have xanthelasma.

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This article has been written by UK-based doctors and pharmacists, so some advice may not apply to US users and some suggested treatments may not be available. For more information, please see our T&Cs.
Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed on 19.10.2023
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