Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Glaucoma Risk & Cholesterol Medication

Glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness, is a condition where pressure commonly builds up in the eye and affects the optic nerve. Recent research suggests that statins-cholesterol-lowering drugs prescribed to treat and prevent cardiovascular disease-also lower intraocular pressure and promote blood flow to the optic nerve, which may help lower glaucoma risk.

Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston have reported on a study in JAMA Ophthalmology demonstrating that taking statins for five or more years is associated with lower risk of primary open-angle glaucoma. Their study suggests that there are possible protective associations beyond cardiovascular conditions offered by long-term statin use. Statins may strengthen neuroprotective mechanisms that prevent degeneration of cells in the optic nerve. The results showed that use of statins for five years or longer, versus never using statins, are associated with a 21 percent lower chance of primary open-angle glaucoma and that elevated cholesterol levels may heighten glaucoma risk. They also cautioned that the findings do not mean that individuals with family histories 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 before physicians can recommend statins for lowering risk of primary open-angle glaucoma. Particularly in elderly populations, statins have potential side effects, including risk of muscle damage and liver or kidney dysfunction.

If you or someone you know is concerned about your risk of glaucoma please schedule an eye exam and glaucoma testing at Doctor & Associates-203-227-4113, visit Doctor & Associates in Fairfield County, or to schedule an appointment.

Doctor & Associates offices are conveniently located at 129 Kings Highway North, Westport, Connecticut 06880, 195 Danbury Road, Wilton, Connecticut 06897 and 148 East Avenue, Norwalk, Connecticut 06851.