There is a new study, published in this month’s American Academy of Ophthalmology’s Journal “Ophthalmology” which has shown that treatment of high cholesterol (hyperlipidaemia) using the class of drug called Statins significantly reduces the risk of developing Open Angle Glaucoma. It is thought that the reduction in risk may be approximately 9 or 10% after 2 years of therapy.
The study investigated the previously noted fact that people with raised cholesterol levels were less likely to develop Open Angle Glaucoma than normals, but their hypothesis was that it was the Statin treatment, and not the raised cholesterol was the protective factor. By comparing people who were treated with Statins, other non statin cholesterol lowering drugs, and those on no treatment at all, the study concluded that the Statins were the protective factor.
People on treatment with Statins have a 4% reduction in risk after 1 year of treatment, and this rises to a 9 to 10% reduction after 2 years of treatment.
The authors caution that at the moment, Statin class medicines should not be considered primarily as a treatment for Open Angle Glaucoma, but they suggest that further investigation should be undertaken to investigate this possibility- many people who have Glaucoma are elderly and find insertion of drops into their eyes to be particularly difficult.