High cholesterol may be risky for your eyes

Research we're watching

Published: August, 2019

Got a high cholesterol reading? You may have a higher risk for a dangerous eye condition called glaucoma, according to a recent study published online May 2 by JAMA Ophthalmology. The condition, characterized by pressure in the eye that can damage the optic nerve, can lead to vision loss.

The study looked at 866 cases of primary open-angle glaucoma, the most common type of glaucoma, among more than 136,000 study participants who were followed for 15 or more years. Participants provided researchers with updates on statin use and cholesterol levels every other year throughout the study period. After analyzing the information, study authors found that for every 20-point increase in total cholesterol there was a 7% increase in glaucoma risk. But the use of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs seemed to reduce risk. People who used statins for five years or longer had a 21% lower risk of developing glaucoma.

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