Do You Have AMD And Take Statins?

Do you have AMD and take statins?

If you have age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and take statins for lowering cholesterol (common ones here in the UK include simvastatin, atorvastatin and pravastatin), then you might be interested in this study published in Scientific Reports (December 2015).

Why was this study done?

Studies have shown that AMD and cardiovascular disease share many risk factors, such as smoking, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
Therefore, medicines which reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, such as statins, might also be beneficial in AMD.

How was the study done?

This study was a meta-analysis – a statistical technique for combining the findings from independent studies.

What did the study show?

The study showed that statin use was significantly associated with lower risk for early AMD compared with non-users. It also showed that statin use had a significant protective association with exudative (“wet”) AMD.

What does it mean for me?

Larger studies are needed before statins use can be recommended for AMD prevention. At whatever stage and type of AMD, the usual lifestyle recommendations apply:

  • Stop smoking
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Maintain a healthy blood pressure
  • Lower your cholesterol levels
  • Don’t drink alcohol to excess

The bottom line:

The results showed that taking statins was protective for early and exudative AMD. Therefore, statins might have a protective role to play in the prevention of early AMD and exudative AMD. Further well-designed large studies and trials are needed before definitive conclusions can be drawn regarding the potential effects of statins on AMD prevention.