A study suggests that patients who used statins for five years or more had a 21% lower chance of primary open-angle glaucoma
A team of researchers have conducted a study bringing the connection between statin use and the risk of primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) into sharper focus. Investigators from Brigham and Women’s Hospital have found that using statins for five or more years is linked to a lower risk for POAG.
Jae Hee Kang, ScD, assistant professor of medicine in the Channing Division of Network Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, was lead author of the study.
In vitro studies conducted in the 2000s indicated that statins may have the ability to decrease IOP and provide protection for the retinal ganglion cells against damage from glaucoma, according to the authors of a newly published study by Kang, et al.1
“Our study suggests possible protective associations beyond cardiovascular conditions for longterm statin use,” Dr. Kang pointed out. “Statins may also strengthen neuroprotective mechanisms that prevent degeneration of cells in the optic nerve.”
The association between statin use and POAG had been investigated previously, but the results were inconclusive and contradictory. Only relatively short courses of statin use were investigated.
“Our primary a priori hypothesis was that longer duration of statin use is associated with a lower risk of POAG, and our secondary hypothesis was that higher cholesterol levels are associated with a higher risk of POAG,” Dr. Kang and her team reported.
Dr. Kang and her team tracked 136,782 healthy patients (113,702 women, 23,080 men) who were 40 years of age and older who did not have glaucoma. The patients were drawn from the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) (patients followed from 2000 to 2014, Nurses’ Health Study 2 (NHS2) (patients followed from 1999-2015), and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS) (patients followed from 2000 to 2014).
A review of the medical records confirmed the incident cases of POAG. The study data regarding development of glaucoma, assessment of high cholesterol, total serum cholesterol, statin use, and use of other cholesterol-lowering drugs had been collected biennially from the patients. The main outcomes measures were the multivariable adjusted relative risks (RR) and the 95% confidence intervals (CIs).
1. Jae H. Kang, Tahani Boumenna, Joshua D. Stein, Anthony Khawaja, Bernard A. Rosner, Janey L. Wiggs, Louis R. Pasquale. Association of statin use and high serum cholesterol levels with risk of primary open-angle glaucoma. JAMA Ophthalmology, 2019.