Statins could cut the chances of developing cataracts by nearly 40 per cent, Israeli researchers say.
In recent years, there is a growing body of evidence suggesting that statins may have anti-inflammatory effects; consequently, it was hypothesized that statins may have a preventive effect against cataract, they noted.
Their study was carried out on a retrospective cohort of 180,291 new statin users in a large health organization in Israel. Study participants were followed between 1998 and 2007 for incident cataract or cataract extraction.
Men aged between 45 and 54 who took the cholesterol-lowering pills virtually every day reduced their risk of cataracts later in life by 38 per cent compared with those who took them rarely,
In women of the same age, the risk was reduced by about 18 per cent.
But those aged 75 or more when they started on statins saw very little reduction in
Persistent statin use was significantly protective for the incidence of cataract in men and women under 75 years of age, the researchers concluded.
Three years ago too scientists from the University of Wisconsin reported that the use of statin drugs might reduce the risk of developing nuclear cataracts - the most common cause of cataracts in older individuals.
Nuclear cataracts are thought to occur because of oxidative stress in the cornea of the eye; accordingly, the known anti-oxidative effect of statins may account for the reduced risk of cataracts in statin-taking patients.