Corneal lipid deposition, is a group of ocular (eye) diseases in which "white" opaque fatty material (lipid, cholesterol, or calcium) is accumulated in the inner layers of the cornea. The cornea is the clear protective outer layer of the eye. It protects the inner eye structures, but still allows light to pass into the eye. Corneal lipid deposition can occur in any age or breed and is more common in dogs than cats. Its appearance varies, but is often opaque white with easily identifiable borders.
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Corneal lipid deposition can occur in three instances. First, the inherited form of the disease, known as Corneal Dystrophy. Corneal dystrophy occurs bilaterally (both eyes), although one eye may be at a more advanced stage than the other. Its appearance varies, but often it appears as cloudy spots near the center of the eye. Though the condition is generally not painful, it can cause periodic onsets of pain. Corneal dystrophy has been identified in the following breeds:
Afghan Hound Beagle
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel English Toy Spaniel
Miniature Pinscher Pointer
Airedale Bearded Collie
Lhasa Apso Norwich
Terrier Poodle (mini, toy)
Alaskan Malamute Bichon Frise
Pembroke Welsh Corgi Samoyed
Second, Lipid Keratopathy/Corneal Lipidosis refers to the corneal lipid deposition secondary to metabolic (internal) diseases. These metabolic diseases include the following: hypothyroidism, hypercholesterolemia, pancreatitis, diabetes, Cushings disease, hypercalcemic states, and plasma lipid elevations. Blood testing may be recommended by the veterinary ophthalmologist to rule out these potential metabolic diseases. Dietary management may be recommended if a metabolic disease is identified.
Finally, corneal lipid deposition can occur secondary to an inflammatory or traumatic incident of the eye. Lipid deposits can also present as an age-related process in animals over 10 years of age. These forms are classified as Corneal Degeneration. For example, after a corneal bacterial infection with blood vessel proliferation, lipid deposits can be the end-stage of the healing process.