Do Statins Have a Role in the Prevention of Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

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Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of blindness worldwide for which preventative therapies are few. Evidence suggesting shared common risk factors and mirrored pathophysiology between cardiovascular disease and AMD led to the hypothesis that hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) could be helpful in preventing AMD. For over a decade, observational studies have repeatedly investigated this hypothesis with conflicting conclusions. Although many reports conclude that statin use has no effect on the risk of AMD, no randomized controlled trial has yet been completed. Furthermore, relatively few studies factor characteristics of statin use into their analysis. A few studies have observed an incompletely explained protective effect against drusen, a funduscopic finding associated with AMD. Although there is insufficient evidence for a preventive effect of statins on dry AMD, there does seem to be stronger evidence against any effect on the development of exudative AMD. Overall, we find that there is insufficient evidence to conclude whether statin use is helpful in preventing AMD.

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