What Are Cholesterol Spots on the Eyes?

Cholesterol spots on the eyes are known as xanthelasma palpebra, according to the U.S. Library of Medicine. It is a common form of xanthoma and may appear without any underlying medical condition. In some cases, the cholesterol spots are a sign of elevated blood lipids in the body.

The cholesterol spots appear as a yellow-orange bumps with defined borders on the upper eyelid, according to the Dermatology Information System. The spots are most commonly seen on older adults. A diagnosis of xanthelasma palpebra is made by a visual evaluation of the skin. Follow-up biopsies show a fatty deposit, and blood tests can be requested to check blood lipid levels, healthy liver function and for diabetes.

Patients should follow-up with a physician when the cholesterol spots develop to verify that the xanthoma is not related to an underlying condition, according to the U.S. Library of Medicine. The spots can be removed surgically but will often reappear, and surgery is risky due to the proximity to the eyes, according to Embarrassing Bodies. Removal may also cause scarring of the skin. If the cholesterol spots appear in conjunction with high blood lipids, then reducing triglyceride and cholesterol levels may decrease the occurrence of cholesterol spots on the eyes.