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Age-Related Cataract Is Associated with Type 2 Diabetes and Statin Use

Machan, Carolyn M.; Hrynchak, Patricia K.; Irving, Elizabeth L.

doi: 10.1097/OPX.0b013e3182644cd1
Original Articles
Press Release

Purpose. Diabetes has been shown to be a risk factor for age-related (AR) cataract. As statins (HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors) are now commonly prescribed for patients with type 2 diabetes, their impact on AR cataract prevalence should be considered. This study determines associations between AR cataract, type 2 diabetes, and reported statin use in a large optometric clinic population.

Methods. In all, 6397 patient files (ages <1–93 years) were reviewed. Overall prevalence of statin use was calculated for patients with type 2 diabetes (n = 452) and without diabetes (n = 5884). Multivariable logistic regression analysis for AR cataract was performed controlling for patient sex, smoking, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and statin use.

Results. The prevalence of statin use (in patients aged >38 years) was 56% for those with type 2 diabetes and 16% for those without diabetes. Type 2 diabetes was significantly associated with nuclear sclerosis (OR = 1.62, 1.14–2.29) and cortical cataract (OR = 1.37, 1.02–1.83). Statin use was associated with nuclear sclerosis (OR = 1.48, 1.09–2.00) and posterior subcapsular cataract (OR = 1.48, 1.07–2.04). The 50% probability of cataract in statin users occurred at age 51.7 and 54.9 years in patients with type 2 diabetes and without diabetes, respectively. In non-statin users, it was significantly later at age 55.1 and 57.3 years for patients with type 2 diabetes and without diabetes, respectively (p < 0.001).

Conclusions. In this population, statin use was substantially higher in patients with type 2 diabetes and was associated with AR cataracts. Further long-term study is warranted to recommend monitoring of crystalline lenses in patients with type 2 diabetes benefiting from statins.




School of Optometry, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

Received: February 8, 2012; accepted May 10, 2012.

Elizabeth L. Irving School of Optometry University of Waterloo 200 University Ave W. Waterloo, Ontario Canada N2L3G1

© 2012 American Academy of Optometry