APR 17, 2012
This large case-control study shows that long-tem statin use may have a protective effect against cataract surgery, especially in younger patients aged 50 to 64 years.
Using data from Kaiser Permanente Southern California, it included 13,982 patients who underwent cataract surgery and 34,049 controls who had an eye examination but no history of cataract.
Use of atorvastin, ezetimibe-simvastatin, lovastatin, pravastatin or simvastatin constituted statin use, but the analysis also included other lipid-lowering agents, such as cholestyramine, colestipol, ezetimibe, fenofibrate and gemfibrozil.
Age-stratified logistic regression analysis showed that recent long-term statin use of at least five years had a protective against cataract surgery in younger patients, 50 to 64 years, but not among patients older than 64. In both age groups, shorter-term use of less than 5 years was linked to an increased risk of cataract surgery.
The authors theorize that statins might be protective due to their antioxidant properties. The difference in effect between longer- and shorter-term users of statins is logical because it would require early, long-term treatment to prevent oxidative damage.