These are yellowish raised plaques that occur around the eyelids and result from lipid-filled cells in the skin. They were considered to be an indication of raised cholesterol and higher risk of atheroma; this is not strictly true in most cases, but may be a sign of raised fats in the blood.

The orthodox world cannot explain why these form in this particular area of the body, although the most reasonable hypothesis suggests that it is a thin area of skin and therefore has smaller vessels, which may become blocked with fatty deposits. A more holistic consideration is the fact that small intestine and stomach meridians connect in this area and are responsible for the absorption of fat.