Here it is -
The results? No correlation displayed in either the Framingham Study or The Copenhagen City Heart Study.
In this context, what was really interesting was the optometrist's comment on how they were trained to respond to a finding of corneal arcus -
"We advise the patient to get a cholesterol test immediately."
"Well, cholesterol does not harm the eye, so it is not of concern to us, but it may be to your doctor.'
Fortunately, things got better after that.
Diabetes can cause blindness so I asked what happens there. It all sounded pretty damn bad - particularly the fairly gross revelation that the blood vessels essentially "bleed" on the road to blindness.
The most simple question then offered up the most illuminating answer.
So does sugar damage the eye?
"The eye will respond very quickly to changes in blood sugar levels. That's why it is so important to keep blood sugar levels as stable as possible."
This of course presents us with the following conundrum -
- Optometrists are professionally trained to advise you to go get your cholesterol checked at the first sign of a cholesterol deposit which neither harms the eye (they know this) nor your arterial function (we know this).
- Following the advice he/she received during their own professional training, your doctor will then place you on cholesterol lowering medication and advise you to lower your fat intake and increase your dietary carbs.
- The above advice would of course increase your habitual blood sugar levels - which the optometrist wants us to keep stable as possible remember? Oh, it may also nudge you down the path towards insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
- All of which means your eyes might eventually bleed.
That the optometrist went on to tell me that my eyes were in an excellent state of health (in spite of the cholesterol scare!) per the scan above leads me to conclude the following:
The link between high blood sugar levels and eye health is clearly proven and important, but there is no link to localised cholesterol (Corneal Arcus) at all. So, if the blood vessels in the eye are where the symptoms of Insulin Resistance manifest most clearly to those who know best, could it be the case that your eyes reveal an awful lot more than we think?
Beauty is one thing, but is Insulin Resistance also in the eye of the beholder?