Statins improve visual field alterations related to hypercholesterolemia



      To determine whether lipid-lowering treatment with diet or statins would provide beneficial effects on visual field alterations associated with hypercholesterolemia.


      180 subjects with hypercholesterolemia were randomly assigned to a low fat diet (diet group) or to a low fat diet plus 40 mg/day of pravastatin (pravastatin group). At the beginning of the study and 6 months after the assigned treatment, all subjects underwent a computerized perimetry test and a determination of plasma concentration of glucose, total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C), HDL-cholesterol (HDL-C) and triglycerides.


      At 6 months, both groups showed a significant decrease in total cholesterol, LDL-C and triglycerides compared to basal values, and a significant increase in the HDL-C. The pravastatin group had a significantly greater reduction in total cholesterol (−85 ± 21 mg/dl) and LDL-C (−86 ± 23 mg/dl) than the diet group (−28 ± 9 and −28 ± 10 mg/dl, respectively). All perimetry parameters improved in both groups after the intervention period, although the improvement was greater in the pravastatin group. Using a general linear model, a significant effect of treatment with pravastatin compared to diet was observed in the improvement of all the perimetry parameters, whereas the change in LDL-C concentrations only had a significant effect on the improvement of one of them.


      In subjects with hypercholesterolemia, the decrease of blood lipids improves visual field parameters. The major beneficial effect noted with pravastatin, compared to diet, suggests that this effect could be due to the lipid-lowering and pleiotropic actions.


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