Purpose To determine the association between the use of statins and non-statin cholesterol-lowering drugs and incident open-angle glaucoma.
Methods In a prospective population-based cohort study among 3939 participants aged 55 years and above, ophthalmic examinations including measurement of the intraocular pressure, assessment of the optic nerve head and perimetry were performed at baseline and after an average follow-up duration of 9.8 years. The use of statins and non-statin cholesterol-lowering drugs was monitored continuously during follow-up. Associations between incident glaucomatous visual field loss and the use of statins and non-statin cholesterol-lowering drugs were assessed using cox-regression models adjusted for age, gender, intraocular pressure lowering treatment and potential (mainly cardiovascular) confounders.
Results During follow-up, 108 participants (2.7%) developed glaucomatous visual field loss. The HR for statin use was 0.56 (95% CI 0.32 to 0.99; p=0.045) and for non-statin cholesterol lowering drugs 1.82 (0.71 to 4.66; p=0.21). There was a significant trend towards a reduced risk of developing OAG with prolonged statin use (HR 0.89, 95% CI 0.41 to 1.93 for use during 2 years or less; HR 0.44, 95% CI 0.22 to 0.89 for use during more than 2 years).
Conclusions Long-term use of statins seems to be associated with a reduced risk of open-angle glaucoma. This result is consistent with an earlier study and suggests that statins should be further explored as a new class of medications for the treatment of glaucoma, especially for those patients in whom disease progression continues despite an apparently sufficient intraocular pressure reduction.
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