In the June 21 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, investigators from the University of Wisconsin report that the use of statin drugs may reduce the risk of developing nuclear cataracts - the most common cause of cataracts in older individuals.
This information comes from the Beaver Dam Eye Study, a long-term study examining the incidence of eye diseases in a large population of patients. In this case, 1299 study participants were evaluated who had had at least 3 eye examinations over a 10-year period without evidence of cataracts. Of these, 210 developed cararacts over the following 5 years. It was determined that study participants who were taking statins had a significantly reduced incidence of developing cataracts.
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.
Klein BEK, Klein R, Lee KE, Grady LM. Statin use and incident nuclear cataract. JAMA 2006; 295:2752-2758.