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Statins may lower glaucoma risk

Recent findings indicate that statins, a class of cholesterol-lowering medications, may reduce the risk of developing open-angle glaucoma (OAG). Researchers at the University of Michigan analyzed over 500,000 patients with abnormally high cholesterol, also known as hyperlipidemia. They found that patients who took statins were significantly less likely to develop OAG compared to hyperlipidemic patients who did not take statins. The risk of progression from glaucoma suspect to OAG diagnosis was also lowered with statin consumption. Overall, the study showed that the risk of OAG decreased by a significant .3% for every additional month of statin intake compared with none. These results may be due to several factors. In addition to lowering cholesterol, a secondary effect of statins is to counter atherosclerosis and enhance blood flow, which may lead to improved blood supply to the optic nerve and retinal nerve cells. While these results are promising, it must be noted that they cannot be generalized for people without hyperlipidemia. However, researchers may soon decide to investigate the effects of statins as a medication for glaucoma prevention in broader populations.*

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