(HealthDay News) — Statin use, which is substantially higher in patients with type 2 diabetes, correlates with an increased risk of age-related (AR) cataracts, according to a study published in the August issue of Optometry and Vision Science.

Noting that diabetes is a risk factor for AR cataract, Carolyn M. Machan, O.D., from the University of Waterloo in Canada, and colleagues examined the association between AR cataract, type 2 diabetes, and reported statin use in a large cohort. The prevalence of statin use was assessed for the 452 patients with type 2 diabetes and the 5,884 patients without diabetes.

The researchers found that, for patients older than 38 years, the prevalence of statin use was 56 percent for those with type 2 diabetes and 16 percent for those without diabetes. There was a significant correlation between type 2 diabetes and nuclear sclerosis (odds ratio [OR], 1.62) and cortical cataract (OR, 1.37). There was a significant correlation between statin use and nuclear sclerosis and posterior subcapsular cataract (OR, 1.48 for both). In statin users the 50 percent probability of cataract occurred at age 51.7 for those with type 2 diabetes and at age 54.9 for those without diabetes. The ages were significantly older (55.1 and 57.3 years, respectively) for non-statin users.

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“Regardless of the outcome of further study, the benefits of statin use in people with type 2 diabetes are anticipated to continue to outweigh any associated increased risk of AR cataract,” the authors write. “Information provided here can serve public health efforts to educate people on the risks of treatments associated with type 2 diabetes.”

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