Professor Anne Tybjaerg-Hansen of the University of Copenhagen explains that soft and painless yellow spots around the eyes contain deposits of cholesterol. The Daily Mail reports that in a more than 30-year study from 2009, her team found that the yellow markings around the eyes known as xanthelasmata are linked to heart disease; additionally, people with this condition more likely have a heart attack or die within 10 years.
Tybjaerg-Hansen's study explains that xanthelasmata does not interfere with vision. However, people usually have these yellow spots treated by a dermatologist when they need to see a doctor.
The research finds that xanthelasmata indicates heart disease in women more effectively than in men because women have an overall lower risk. However, it acutely indicates heart disease in men from age 70 to 79. As reported by The Daily Mail, the study finds that men in this age group with xanthelasmata have a 12 percent greater risk of heart disease, while women in this age group have an 8 percent greater risk. Tybjaerg-Hansen says the "presence of xanthelasmata was a slightly better predictor of heart attack and heart disease in women than in men, and in those aged under 55 years compared with those aged 55 and over."