A cholesterol-lowering drug could give its users an unanticipated benefit: uncloudy corneas. The results of a study based in Manchester, UK, provide evidence that statin users show higher corneal clarity levels than non-users. The UK researchers presented their findings yesterday at ARVO 2019 in Vancouver.

To come to this conclusion, they observed 169 eyes from 85 participants, and collected information such as age and corneal densitometry, a measure of opacity scaled from 0 to 100. The densitometry values were taken from concentric corneal zones 0-2mm, 2-6mm, 6-10mm and 10-12mm from the corneoscleral limbus, across three layers of corneal depth: anterior, central and posterior. The study compared corneal densitometry values between statin users and non-users in four separate 10-year age groups from 50 to 89 years old.

The greatest decreases in full-depth densitometry for statin users vs. non-users were found for the 6mm to 10mm concentric zone of patients in their 60s and 80s: 10.08 and 13.76, respectively. Statin users in the 60 to 69 age group also displayed significantly lower full-depth corneal densitometry levels in the 10mm to 12mm concentric zone (12.15). Researchers believe further exploration of this relationship must address confounding factors, such as other systemic conditions with ocular complications.

Usman MN, Raven-Martin T, Carley F, et al. The effect of statin use on overall corneal clarity in UK participants examined using Pentacam densitometry. ARVO 2019. Abstract 2146.