Some clinicians have raised concerns regarding the potential
for lens opacities (cataracts) as a result of statin use. Statins are
prescribed to reduce total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol
Researchers used data from the British Columbia (BC) Ministry of Health databases from 2000-2007 and the IMS LifeLink U.S. database from 2001-2011 to form two patient cohorts. In the BC cohort, there was about a 27% increased risk of developing cataracts requiring surgical intervention, while in the IMS cohort, the increased risk was only 7%, but still statistically significant.
Lead investigator G.B. John Mancini, MD, of the Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, said, "Further assessment of the clinical impact of this relationship is recommended, especially given increased statin use for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and the importance of acceptable vision in old age where CVD is common. Future studies addressing the possible underlying mechanisms to explain this association are also warranted. However, because the RR is low and because cataract surgery is both effective and well tolerated, this association should be disclosed but not be considered a deterrent to use of statins when warranted for CV risk reduction."
The article is published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology.