Cholesterol medications are associated with an increased likelihood of glaucoma.

Cholesterol medications are associated with an increased likelihood of glaucoma. Photo: Getty Images. Click image to enlarge.

Editor’s Note: As part of our “Year in Review” retrospective, we’ve selected the top 30 news stories of the year and are re-sharing them as we close out 2023. Follow along as we count down to number 1!

This story was originally published May 5, 2023.

No. 8 biggest news story of 2023:

Previous studies have assessed a potential link between cholesterol medications and glaucoma onset. At ARVO 2023 in New Orleans, researchers examined the association between these medications and glaucoma in participants of the 2017 to 2022 National Institutes of Health All of Us Research program with hyperlipidemia and found an increased likelihood of a diagnosis.

A total of 173,525 participants aged 40 and older with hyperlipidemia, 8,967 of whom had glaucoma and 59,362 (34.2%) of whom used cholesterol medications, were included. The exposure of interest was use of cholesterol medications, which included statins, proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 inhibitors, bile acid sequestrants, fibrates, niacin and omega-3 fatty acids. The outcome was the presence of glaucoma, which was defined by EHR data. Covariates included age, sex, race, level of education, income level, body mass index, smoking tobacco use, alcohol use and history of diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease and macular degeneration.

Compared with participants without use of cholesterol medications, those who used them had increased odds of glaucoma in both unadjusted (OR=2.21) and fully adjusted (OR=1.52) analyses.

“Further investigations are needed to examine associations between cardiovascular disease, its treatments and the risk of glaucoma,” the authors concluded in their abstract.

Original abstract content © Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology 2023.

Lee S, Paul ME, Kitayama K, et al. Associations between use of cholesterol medications and glaucoma in the National Institutes of Health All of us Research Program. ARVO 2023 annual meeting.