Myth: The risk of glaucoma cannot be decreased.

Truth: Although glaucoma – a group of eye diseases which result in damage to the optic nerve and cause vision loss – is not completely preventable, there are many lifestyle changes that can be implemented to reduce the risk. Commonly, medical professionals recommend lifestyle changes like increased physical activity, smoking cessation, and limiting caffeine intake.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association – Ophthalmology found that statin medication can also help to reduce the risk of developing a type of glaucoma called open-angle glaucoma. Statins are commonly used to lower cholesterol levels, and are prescribed to help prevent heart attacks, strokes, and cardiovascular disease. In this new study, however, researchers determined that statins were also able to reduce the risk of open-angle glaucoma by 21% in those who took statins continuously for two years, in comparison to those in the study that were not taking statin medications. Importantly, researchers observed that there was no statistical difference in reduced glaucoma risk between those taking the maximum dosage of statins (80 mg) and those taking a lower dose of statins (40 mg). As well, different statins – including generic brands like atorvastatin – had no differences in their protective effects. Read more about statins and glaucoma here.

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