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Statin Use Linked to Cataract Development

People with high cholesterol often use drugs called statins to treat the ailment, but a recent study suggests that taking them could put you at a 50% higher risk of developing age-related cataracts. The results were particularly pronounced in individuals with diabetes, who are already at a greater risk of developing cataracts.

The researchers examined data from the Waterloo Eye Study, which included 6,397 participants, some of whom had diabetes. 56% of those with diabetes were taking statins and 16% of those without diabetes were taking statins.

They found that patients with diabetes who took statins developed cataracts at a faster rate than those with diabetes and not taking statins. Similar rates of developing cataracts were seen for participants with diabetes who did not take statins and participants without diabetes who did take statins.

Individuals without diabetes who were not taking statins developed cataracts at the slowest rate.

According to the researchers, high cholesterol is needed by the crystalline lens membrane to develop cells and maintain lens transparency. Statins may inhibit cholesterol biosynthesis in the human lens.

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Waterloo in Canada. Their findings were published in the August 2012 issue of Optometry & Visual Science.

Studies have linked several supplements to a reduction in the risk of cataract formation. These include lutein, CoQ10, curcumin and selenium. High intake of sugar and glycemic carbohydrates increases the risk of cataracts.

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