For many years attempts have been made to ascertain the composition of arcus senilis in the cornea. The earliest examinations were qualitative ones and were performed by histological methods between 1850 and the early 1900's.1-7 For several decades subsequently, interest in arcus senilis seemed to wane. During the 1940's and 1950's, however, with the tremendous interest in the relationship of cholesterol to atherosclerosis, interest in arcus senilis was revived because of its possible relationship to cholesterol.
Cogan and Kuwabara (1959),8 using histochemical and fat solubility studies, concluded that the arcus was composed primarily of cholesterol, phospholipids, and neutral fats.
Andrews (1961),9 using quantitative biochemical analyses, concluded that the lipid associated with arcus senilis consists primarily of sterol ester with small amounts of neutral glycerides, sterol, and phospholipids also being present. An objection to the work of Andrews is that the controls, or corneas with no arcus, were
TSCHETTER RT. Lipid Analysis of the Human Cornea With and Without Arcus Senilis. Arch Ophthalmol. 1966;76(3):403-405. doi:10.1001/archopht.1966.03850010405020