Waterloo, ON - Statin users are more than 50% likelier to develop age-related cataracts, according to the results of a new study. And type 2 diabetics who use statins are at even greater risk of cataracts, report investigators.
"The bioplausibility of these results lies in the fact that the crystalline lens membrane requires high cholesterol for proper epithelial cell development and lens transparency," write Dr Carolyn Machan (University of Waterloo, ON) and colleagues in the August 2012 issue of Optometry and Vision Science. "Increased cataract formation has been seen in both animals and humans with hereditary cholesterol deficiency, and the risk exists that statins can inhibit cholesterol biosynthesis in the human lens."
Asked to comment on the paper for heartwire, Dr Richard Karas (Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA), called the findings "an interesting observation [that] isn't alarmist." There is, he says, a "suggestion" here that statins may increase the risk of cataracts, but this visual problem eventually afflicts everyone of a certain age anyhow, he says, adding that further study of this association will be required.
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