A recent comprehensive study examined the effects of statins on cataract formation. Researchers have found that use of statins is linked to an increased risk for cataract development.

A Comprehensive Study

This study, the largest of its kind conducted to date, sheds light on the relationship between statins and cataracts. Previous studies gave mixed results.

Statins are commonly prescribed medications used to treat high cholesterol.

An Increased Risk of Cataracts

Researchers compared 13, 626 patients using statins to 32, 623 non-users ages 30-85. The average length of statin use was two years. The findings were clear: users of statins experienced a 9-27% increased risk of cataracts when compared to non-users.

Cataracts are the most common vision disorder in patients over 60. They occur when the viscous fluid in the lens of the eye becomes cloudy. A surgical procedure is required to remove and replace the clouded lens, thus restoring sight.


While scientists are not certain exactly how statins act to cause cataracts, they theorize that the dugs may have an impact on the oxidation process, the most common cause of cortical and nuclear cataracts. The cholesterol-inhibiting properties of statins may also interfere with cell regeneration in the optical lens, which requires cholesterol to maintain its transparency.

Cataract Risk In Perspective

Although statin use in the study was associated with an increased risk of cataract formation, the benefits of statin use for patients with a high risk of heart disease far outweigh the side effects. Dr. Ishak Mansi, professor of medicine at the University of Texas, explains, “If a patient takes this medication because he is at high risk for heart disease, or already has heart disease, the proven benefit of statins is much greater than the suspected risk of cataracts. But they have side effects, and doctors should not prescribe this medication lightly.”

Cataracts are the most common cause of vision loss. Almost 22 million Americans aged 40 and over suffer from cataracts. By age 80, this increases to over half the population. Surgery to remove cataracts is among the most commonly performed procedures – each year over 3 million Americans have it performed. The success rate of cataract surgeries is 98% with very few patients suffering postoperative complications.

Dr. Silverman and the EyeCare 20/20 team bring together a wealth of experience and the very latest in laser technology. Cited as one of the best physicians in the metro New York area, Dr. Silverman and his team offer a full array of services for all your vision needs.

The information presented on this Site and Blog and any related links is provided for educational, informational, and entertainment purposes only. Nothing contained in this Site is intended to create a physician-patient relationship, to replace the services of a licensed, trained physician or health professional or to be a substitute for medical advice of a physician or trained health professional licensed in your state. You must never consider any of the information presented here as a substitute for consulting with your physician or health care provider for any medical conditions or concerns. Any information presented here is general information, is not medical advice, nor is it intended as advice for your personal situation. Please consult with your physician or health care provider if you have concerns about your health or suspect that you might have a problem.