Study Finds Statin Use Tied to Cataracts, Eye Damage

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pillsAdvocates and Big Pharma manufacturers of the largest class of cholesterol drugs, statins, have purported that their drugs—taken by millions–have antioxidant qualities that could protect the eyes from signs of aging. But a recently released study says that simply isn’t true, adding another item to the long list of dangerous side effectsPublished in the journal JAMA Opthamology, the study indicates statins can actually increase the risk of cataracts—a leading cause of blindness in the world.

This isn’t the first study to reach such a conclusion. As GreenMedInfo.com reports, a similar one published in Optometry and Vision Science found statin users have a 48% higher risk of ‘pathological eye lens changes commonly associated with cataract formation.’

Cataracts lead to a cloudiness over the lens of the eye. This causes vision to be inhibited and can eventually lead to blindness. Aging, excessive UV radiation, and trauma are all natural causes of cataracts. Now, we may be able to add statins to that list.

In the latest study, researchers with the San Antonio Military Medical Center in Texas used a military health care system database to make their observations. The patients were divided into two groups, those who received statins (13,626) and those who didn’t (32,623).

Their results:

“For our primary analysis, we matched 6972 pairs of statin users and nonusers. The risk for cataract was higher among statin users in comparison with nonusers in the propensity score-matched cohort (odds ratio, 1.09; 95% CI, 1.02-1.17). In secondary analyses, after adjusting for identified confounders, the incidence of cataract was higher in statin users in comparison with nonusers (odds ratio, 1.27; 95% CI, 1.15-1.40). Sensitivity analysis confirmed this relationship.”

What this means is the risk for cataracts was between 9 and 27% higher for those on statins than for those non-statin-users.

Read: Lifestyle Changes Beat Statins for Boosting Heart Health

Statins are used by millions of individuals to lower cholesterol. Harvard Medical School estimates half of U.S. men between the ages of 65 and 74 are on statins, along with 39% of women ages 75 and older. When you add in the users who are 45 and older, they estimate about 32 million adults over the age of 45 are currently taking statins in the U.S.

And cataracts aren’t the only risk. As a matter of fact, these popular drugs have been linked to over 300 adverse effects.  For conventional doctors they seem to be the go-to answer when someone shows up with ‘high cholesterol’, despite cholesterol being completely manageable through diet.