In the Journals

Higher cholesterol levels associated with greater risk for primary open-angle glaucoma

Patients with higher levels of cholesterol are more at risk for primary open-angle glaucoma, while those who take statins to control cholesterol levels are at less risk, according to a study.

“Our results, using longitudinal data from 136,782 participants, showed that use of statins for 5 years or longer vs. never using statins was associated with a 21% lower chance of primary open-angle glaucoma,” study co-author Jae Hee Kang, ScD, told Healio.com/OSN.

The researchers used biennial data from patients 40 years or older who did not have glaucoma and reported eye examinations. Data were culled from three large population-based studies: Nurses’ Health Study, Nurses’ Health Study 2 and Health Professionals Follow-up Study.

Over 15 years of follow-up assessments of cholesterol levels and statin use, 886 incident cases of POAG were identified. Any history of elevated cholesterol, defined as a self-report of a physician’s diagnosis of high cholesterol or ever reporting a total serum cholesterol of 240 mg/dL or more, was associated with a higher risk for POAG.

Every 20 mg/dL increase in total serum cholesterol level was associated with a 7% increase in risk for POAG (P = .004), with an even greater risk observed in patients with serum cholesterol levels of 250 mg/dL or more and a 6% risk in patients who never used cholesterol-lowering drugs (P = .04).

However, use of statins decreased POAG risk by 15%. Patients who used statins for 5 years or more compared with those who never used statins experienced 21% less risk for POAG (P = .02 for linear trend). Each year of statin use was associated with a 3% decrease of POAG risk.

“These findings do not mean that individuals with a family history of glaucoma should use statins or other cholesterol medications for glaucoma prevention. Randomized clinical trials will be needed to determine if a causal link exists between statin use and glaucoma prevention, especially given the potential side effects of statin use,” Kang said. – by Robert Linnehan

Disclosures: Kang reports receiving grants from the National Institutes of Health during the conduct of the study. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.

Patients with higher levels of cholesterol are more at risk for primary open-angle glaucoma, while those who take statins to control cholesterol levels are at less risk, according to a study.

“Our results, using longitudinal data from 136,782 participants, showed that use of statins for 5 years or longer vs. never using statins was associated with a 21% lower chance of primary open-angle glaucoma,” study co-author Jae Hee Kang, ScD, told Healio.com/OSN.

The researchers used biennial data from patients 40 years or older who did not have glaucoma and reported eye examinations. Data were culled from three large population-based studies: Nurses’ Health Study, Nurses’ Health Study 2 and Health Professionals Follow-up Study.

Over 15 years of follow-up assessments of cholesterol levels and statin use, 886 incident cases of POAG were identified. Any history of elevated cholesterol, defined as a self-report of a physician’s diagnosis of high cholesterol or ever reporting a total serum cholesterol of 240 mg/dL or more, was associated with a higher risk for POAG.

Every 20 mg/dL increase in total serum cholesterol level was associated with a 7% increase in risk for POAG (P = .004), with an even greater risk observed in patients with serum cholesterol levels of 250 mg/dL or more and a 6% risk in patients who never used cholesterol-lowering drugs (P = .04).

However, use of statins decreased POAG risk by 15%. Patients who used statins for 5 years or more compared with those who never used statins experienced 21% less risk for POAG (P = .02 for linear trend). Each year of statin use was associated with a 3% decrease of POAG risk.

“These findings do not mean that individuals with a family history of glaucoma should use statins or other cholesterol medications for glaucoma prevention. Randomized clinical trials will be needed to determine if a causal link exists between statin use and glaucoma prevention, especially given the potential side effects of statin use,” Kang said. – by Robert Linnehan

Disclosures: Kang reports receiving grants from the National Institutes of Health during the conduct of the study. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.