Cholesterol Lowering Drug Statin to Prevent Diabetic Retinopathy

A class of cholesterol lowering drugs – Statins is found to prevent blindness in diabetics. The findings were discovered by the researchers from the New University of Georgia. The results of their study are published in the March 2011 edition of the journal Diabetologia.

The drug works by inhibiting the functioning of the free radicals in the retina. The highly active and unstable molecules cause destruction in the tissues of the eyes meant for maintaining vision.

Diabetic retinopathy is a prevalent eye condition which mostly affects people suffering from Type 2 diabetes for a period of 10-15 years or more. As a consequence a protein called pro-nerve growth factor is released by the eye. On its maturation, the protein protects the nerves of the eyes.

But, high blood sugar levels in diabetic people lead to the induction of free radicals in their eyes, preventing the maturation of the former protein into its latter form. In this way, the eye nerves remain impaired and unprotected. Hence the condition – Diabetic retinopathy.

Until now, the condition had to be treated through the costly and pain staking surgical procedure, as no FDA approved oral drug to address this issue was available.

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