Persistence with statins and incident cataract: a population-based historical cohort study

Ann Epidemiol. 2010 Feb;20(2):136-42. doi: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2009.10.007.


Purpose: In recent years, there is a growing body of evidence suggesting that statins may have anti-inflammatory effects; consequently, it was hypothesized that statins may have a preventive effect against cataract.

Methods: The study was carried out on a retrospective cohort of 180,291 new statin users in a large health organization in Israel. Study participants were followed between 1998 and 2007 for incident cataract or cataract extraction.

Results: During the study period 27,301 cataracts were diagnosed and 6,976 cataract extractions were performed among study participants. Persistence with statins was associated significantly (P < 0.001) with a reduced risk of cataract in men and women aged 45 to 74. Men aged 45-54 with a high (>80%) proportion of follow-up days covered with statins had an adjusted hazard ratio of 0.62 (95% confidence interval: 0.54-0.72), compared with patients with low persistence with statins. In elderly patients, no relationship or a positive relationship was observed.

Conclusions: Persistent statin use was significantly protective for the incidence of cataract in men and women under 75 years of age.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Cataract / epidemiology*
  • Cataract / prevention & control
  • Cataract / therapy
  • Cataract Extraction
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Health Maintenance Organizations
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / administration & dosage*
  • Israel / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Medical Records
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors