Little is known about the association between high cholesterol levels and primary open-angle glaucoma. A new study in JAMA Ophthalmology sought to evaluate this association by comparing cholesterol levels and statin use with incident primary open-angle glaucoma.
Researchers followed 136,782 individuals who were at least 40 years old and not diagnosed with glaucoma from 2000-2014. By the end of the evaluation period, there were 886 cases of primary open-angle glaucoma.
Results showed that individuals were 17% more likely to develop glaucoma if they had a history of high cholesterol. In comparison, statin use resulted in a 15% lower risk of glaucoma. Those who took statins ≥5 years were 21% less likely to develop glaucoma.
Statins may be reducing the risk of glaucoma by lowering intraocular pressure, which is a glaucoma risk factor. More studies are needed to examine the relationship between glaucoma and high cholesterol, but researchers suggest they may be related to impaired blood flow to the optic nerve.
Kang JH, Boumenna T, Stein JD, et al. Association of statin use and high serum cholesterol levels with risk of primary open-angle glaucoma [published online ahead of print May 2019]. JAMA Ophthalmol. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2019.0900.