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12/21/2009 - News

Statins may reduce cataract risk

By: Susan Aldridge, medical journalist, PhD



Statins may reduce cataract risk

Reported by Susan Aldridge, PhD, medical journalist

People on statins to lower their cholesterol are less likely to develop eye cataracts.
Statins are used to decrease cholesterol levels and are thought also to have antioxidant activity. This is borne out in a new study which suggests that statins can help reduce the incidence of cataract. Oxidative stress, a condition marked by low antioxidant levels, is a driving factor in cataract – a condition in which the eye lens clouds over, leading to loss of vision.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin examined data from the Beaver Dam Eye Study to see if statin use was linked with reduced risk of age-related cataract. The study included 1,299 people all deemed to be at risk of cataract. A total of 210 people did develop cataract over the next five years. The rate of cataract among statin users was 12.2 per cent compared to 17.2 per cent among non-users. After adjusting for diabetes and smoking, the odds of developing a cataract were reduced 60 per cent among statin users. The researchers think that further studies are now needed on whether statins can help people reduce the risk of cataract.

Journal of the American Medical Association 21st June 2006 Volume 295 pages 2752-2758

Created on: 06/21/2006
Reviewed on: 12/21/2009

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