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Statin Use Tied to Possible Boost in Cataract Risk
Date:8/24/2012

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Aug. 24 (HealthDay News) -- The millions of adults who currently use prescription statins to control their cholesterol levels may be inadvertently increasing their risk for developing age-related cataracts, new research suggests.

The bump in cataract risk linked to statin use appears comparable to the elevated risk already known to exist among people with type 2 diabetes, the study team observed.

That said, the study authors cautioned that more research is needed before being able to definitively say there is a cause-and-effect relationship between statins and cataract risk.

"The bottom line is that there appears to be an increased risk among people taking statins as far as getting cataracts," said study lead author Elizabeth Irving, research chairwoman in the School of Optometry and Vision Science at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. "That was actually a surprise, because most of the previous literature had suggested the opposite. However, it doesn't mean that one is causing the other."

"I would also say we are not now suggesting that statin patients do anything except follow their doctor's advice with respect to statins," Irving added. "They're taking statins for a reason. If you're going to have a heart attack or get cataracts, what would you choose?"

Irving and her colleagues discuss their findings in the August issue of the journal Optometry and Vision Science.

The authors noted that previous animal research has already pointed to a possible link between high-dosage statin use and a bump in the risk for cataracts, which are characterized by a significant clouding of the eyes' lenses.

To explore the potential link between statins and eye health in humans, the investigators focused on nearly 6,400 cataract patients who were being treated at the University of Waterloo between 2007 and 2008.

Of those patients, more
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