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What is a Limbal Ring?

The limbal ring is the dark ring surrounding the iris. It appears darker in toddlers and youngsters, while its color diminishes with increasing age.
Nicks J
Last Updated: Dec 26, 2018
Did You Know?
According to a 2011 study conducted in the University of California, Irvine and published in Evolutionary Psychology, it was observed that people with thicker and darker limbal rings are found to be more appealing than those who do not have well-defined limbal rings.
It is often said that the facial beauty lies in the eyes. But did you know that the beauty of the eyes lies in the appearance of limbal rings? Whenever we look at our or someone else's eyes, the first thing that we notice is the iris, the colored portion of the eye. However, we rarely look at the limbal ring - the dark line encircling the iris.
Also known as the outline of the iris, it is often said that the limbal ring makes a person look more charismatic and appealing. Pretty eyes tend to have visibly noticeable limbal rings. So one can say that the limbal rings play a crucial role in enhancing the facial attractiveness.
This dark ring appearing on the ocular surface is actually the border of the cornea. As we all know, the cornea helps in focusing light onto the retina. The cornea, which is a transparent circular membrane sits exactly in front of the iris. Corneal limbus, the border of the cornea, presents itself as the dark circular outline of the iris.
We may not notice the limbal ring immediately but a closer look reveals a dark circle that divides the ocular surface into the iris and the sclera, the white part of the eye. One can say it is a circular dark edge where the sclera meets the iris.
Colors of Limbal Rings
It is observed that age of a person influences color and width of the dark rings. One of the most striking features of infants and toddlers are their thick black limbal rings. The limbal ring is the darkest and its width is maximum during this stage of life and continues until child reaches his early 20s. They are prominently visible during this period.
Bigger and blacker limbal rings are considered as a sign of youthfulness. However, these dark borders around the iris start fading from the late 20s. The decline of limbal rings can be noticed clearly in the elderly. In simple words, decrease in thickness and color intensity of limbal rings is a part of aging.
However, eye problems that affect the cornea can also cause premature thinning of the limbal rings and make them less noticeable.
Although limbal rings begin to diminish in one's late 20s, in some cases, they continue to appear prominent irrespective of age. This is a genetic attribute in which the dark border around the iris does not fade easily with age.
The visibility of limbal rings also depends on eye color. For instance, the limbal ring is distinctly visible in a light-colored iris but appears imperceptible when the iris is black or dark brown.

If limbal rings are not distinctly perceptible, you may opt for contact lenses that have been specially designed to enhance the visibility of limbal rings. 
Disclaimer: The information provided is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.