Statin and aspirin therapy are associated with decreased rates of choroidal neovascularization among patients with age-related macular degeneration

Am J Ophthalmol. 2004 Apr;137(4):615-24. doi: 10.1016/j.ajo.2003.10.025.


Purpose: To investigate the relationship between statin and aspirin use and the risk of choroidal neovascularization (CNV) in patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Design: Retrospective consecutive case series.

Methods: All patients 60 years and older with AMD who were seen between January 1, 1990, and March 1, 2003, at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Hospital Eye Clinic with fundus photographs were included. Patients with other diagnoses predisposing to CNV or incomplete medical records were excluded. The main outcome measure was angiographically evident CNV. Diagnosis was based on review of fundus photographs and fluorescein angiograms in masked fashion; medical records were reviewed for variables possibly predisposing to CNV or statin use. For patients with CNV, age of onset was recorded; those without CNV were treated as censored. Age-related macular degeneration disease status and time of onset of CNV was compared between patients treated or not treated with statins for at least 6 months.

Results: Of 326 patients with AMD, 104 had CNV, 204 had dry AMD, and 18 had geographic atrophy (GA). Of CNV subjects, 21 (20%) used statins, compared with 77 (38%) of dry AMD subjects without GA and 6 (33%) of controls with GA (hazard ratio = 0.51, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.31-0.86, P =.01). Aspirin use was also significantly associated with decreased rates of CNV; 62 CNV subjects (60%) used aspirin, compared with 154 (75%) dry AMD subjects without GA or 12 (67%) with GA (hazard ratio = 0.63, 95% CI = 0.40-0.98, P =.04).

Conclusions: Therapy with statins or aspirin is associated with decreased rates of CNV among AMD patients. Additional study with a prospective and/or randomized trial of statin and aspirin use in AMD patients is warranted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Age of Onset
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Aspirin / therapeutic use*
  • Choroidal Neovascularization / etiology
  • Choroidal Neovascularization / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Fluorescein Angiography
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Macular Degeneration / complications
  • Macular Degeneration / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Aspirin