Serum lipid parameters and the prevalence of corneal arcus in a dyslipidaemic patient population

Meyer, D. ; Liebenberg, P. H. ; Maritz, F. J. (2004-08)

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Aim: To determine whether an association exists between plasma lipoprotein constituents and the prevalence of corneal arcus in dyslipidaemic patients. Methods: Adult patients (n = 115) were included if their fasting total serum cholesterol concentrations exceeded the 95th percentile or their serum low-density lipoprotein (LDL) : high density lipoprotein (HDL) ratios exceeded 5. Slit-lamp assessment of the corneas was performed. Results: The study group divided into a subgroup with arcus 37% (43) and a subgroup without arcus 63% (72). Total serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels were not associated with corneal arcus. A significant difference was found (p < 0.05) between the mean levels of LDL cholesterol (LDL-C) in the group without arcus (5.61 ± 1.74 mmol/l) and the group with arcus (5.96 ±1.71 mmol/l). The mean serum HDL-cholesterol (HDL-C) in the group with corneal arcus was 1.04 ± 0.30 mmol/l as opposed to 1.31 ± 0.38 mmol/l in the group without arcus (p < 0.005 for difference). The mean LDL-C : HDL-C ratio in the group without arcus was 4.28 (SD: 1.99), and 5.73 (SD: 2.09) in the group with a corneal arcus (p < 0.05). Conclusions: Low HDL-C levels, high LDL-C levels and LDL-C : HDL-C ratios > 5 have been implicated as risk factors of numerous circulatory diseases. The observations in this study suggest that the presence of corneal arcus in the dyslipidaemic patient correlates strongly with these same risk indicators.

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