Statins associated with reduction in 10-year risk of cataracts

In the Blue Mountains Eye Study published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology, statin use was demonstrated to be protective against the development of cataracts, reducing a patient's risk by nearly half.

Key Points

In the Blue Mountains Eye Study published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology, statin use was demonstrated to be protective against the development of cataracts, reducing a patient's risk by nearly half.

It is believed that oxidative stress and inflammation are both linked to the development of cataracts. Statins have been demonstrated to have anti-inflammatory abilities and, therefore, may be able to prevent the development of cataracts.

The Blue Mountains Eye Study was a population-based cohort study of 3,654 elderly patients; 1,952 patients were followed for 10 years. At baseline, 70 patients were using statins; 195 patients were using statins at 5 years.

The authors stated that this demonstrated protective effect of statins against any cataract development was consistent with the 25% risk reduction in the same end point reported in the Beaver Dam Eye Study. However, the authors also noted that prior epidemiologic studies have reported no significant association between statin use and cataract development, and that studies in animal models have demonstrated a link between higher statin doses and an increased risk of posterior subcapsular cataract development.

The authors stressed that because of the potentially important healthcare implications of this study, their results need to be confirmed and expanded through additional research.

SOURCE

Tan JSL, Mitchell P, Rochtchina E, Wang JJ. Statin use and the long-term risk of incident cataract: The Blue Mountains Eye Study. Am J Ophthalmol. 2007;143:687–689.