A study published in the June issue of the journal Archives of Ophthalmology shows, that long-term use of cholesterol-lowering medications called statins may reduce the risk of glaucoma, especially in people with cardiovascular disease and high cholesterol.
Experts estimate that 2.2 million Americans over 40 years of age suffer from glaucoma, an eye disease characterized by increased pressure in the eye.
University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers studied the medical records -- including use of statins and other cholesterol-lowering drugs -- of 667 men aged 50 or older who had been newly diagnosed with glaucoma. They compared them to 6,667 men of similar age without glaucoma.
Men who used statins for more than two years had a significantly reduced risk of glaucoma, the researchers found. The risks were also lower in men who took nonstatin cholesterol-lowering drugs, they add. This preliminary study "indicates the intriguing possibility that long-term use of oral statins may be associated with a reduced risk of open-angle glaucoma," especially for individuals with a history of high cholesterol or cardiovascular disease, the study authors wrote in a prepared statement. Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of glaucoma.
Previous research found that people who took statins had a lower risk of age-related macular degeneration, a retinal disorder that can cause gradual vision loss.
But according to fda.gov, Baycol, one of the statins may lead to rhabdomyolysis, a severe muscle adverse reaction. Its use may even lead to death (approximately 50 deaths, already).
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