Cholesterol Drugs Linked to Advanced Macular Degeneration

Statins, a class of drug that inhibit a key enzyme that helps the body make cholesterol, have been associated with the progression of macular degeneration.

Using data compiled in the Age-related Eye Disease Study (AREDS), researchers followed 1266 study participants for a period of 11 years.  These patients were statin users and had either wet macular degeneration or central geographic atrophy (CGA) in one or both eyes.

An analsysis of the data indicated that 481 patients from the study had developed advanced macular degeneration.  Of this 481, 323 had developed wet macular degeneration and 233 had developed central geographic atrophy.

It was found that the use of statin drugs was statistically significant in the development of advanced macular degeneration.  This analysis also indicated that these cholesterol drugs were linked only to the deveopment of wet macular degeneration.

The researchers indicated that the use of these cholesterol drugs should not worry patients who may be concerned about the effects on their eyes because these drugs also have a beneficial effect on a person’s life.

Studies in 2003 indicated that statins may have some benefit at reducing the risk of macular degeneration.  Researchers have indicated that further study is required because statin use may not be a protective measure as once indicated.