Is There a Connection Between Cholesterol and Cataracts?

Is There a Connection Between Cholesterol and Cataracts?

Everyone knows that cholesterol is bad for the overall health of the body. High cholesterol levels can contribute to the development of atherosclerosis (the hardening and narrowing of the arteries) which makes a person more likely to suffer a heart attack or a stroke.

It’s so extremely important to keep cholesterol levels down to help prevent heart disease. But, did you know that high cholesterol can also contribute to cataracts and other eye issues?


Is There a Connection Between Cholesterol and Cataracts?There are a few things that contribute to the amount of cholesterol in your system. Most people think poor diet is the only way cholesterol gets into your system. But the truth is, cholesterol is actually manufactured naturally in your body. Your liver produces all the cholesterol your body needs.

Most people consume more cholesterol than their body needs which leads to high cholesterol levels in their body. Some people have a predisposition to high cholesterol levels because of a family history. It can also be the result of being overweight or not being physically active.


Cataracts are a clouding of the lens of the eye. They impair the vision because they don’t allow light to pass through the lens the way it should.

There are a few things people do to increase their risk of developing cataracts:

  • Expose their eyes to ultraviolet light without protection (proper sunglasses)
  • Smoke
  • Have high blood sugar
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Use steroid medications

Is cholesterol a contributing factor in the development of cataracts? Maybe not directly, but medications used to control it have been linked to an increased risk of cataracts.

Cholesterol and Cataracts Connection

Although some people believe there is a direct connection between cholesterol and cataracts, it seems to be less of a direct threat and more of an indirect one. It is an indirect threat by two means – an unhealthy diet and the medicine used to lower high cholesterol.

A healthy diet is an important to all body functions. This includes your eyesight. A diet that is high in cholesterol is not healthy. If a person is eating a diet rich in vitamins and minerals and low in fat, they are less likely to develop food related health issues.

When it comes to taking care of your body and eyes, consider reducing the amount of high cholesterol, fat and sugar items in your menu. There are a number of foods containing the essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients for improving eye health and vision.

Also consider adding a vitamin supplement, like our Ocu-Plus Formula, to your diet to improve not only the health of your body, but the health of your eyes. Remember that having high blood sugar and high blood pressure (which can both be controlled through proper diet) are both contributing factors to the development of cataracts.

The second connection between cholesterol and cataracts comes from the medicines that are commonly prescribed to lower cholesterol, statins. Statins work by clearing cholesterol from the blood. There have been several studies to assess the increased risk of cataracts among statin users.

One study was conducted by Ishak Mansi, MD of the VA North Texas Health System at the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas. Here, the researchers found that statin users were nine percent more likely to suffer from cataracts than non-statin users. Other studies have found an increased risk of up to 57 percent.

Doctors and researchers are working on creating a cholesterol lowering drug that will not put your eyesight at risk. If you are at risk of high cholesterol because of family history, physical inactivity, or poor diet, consider what you can do to lower your risk of needing a statin prescribed to you.

Improve your diet to include healthier choices by cutting out high fat foods such as fast food and increase your intake of fruits and vegetables. Get physically active by getting up and moving. The more you move, the easier it becomes. Although we can’t change our family history, we can choose to live the healthiest life possible, making your family history less of an influence.

Eye Damage Caused by High Cholesterol

One of the ways cholesterol can damage your eyesight is if the cholesterol breaks free from build up in the arteries and goes into the bloodstream. It can then clog up the retina’s arteries. This would result in retinal artery occlusion. It can also cause macular degeneration because the buildup of cholesterol in the macular vessel can slow down the amount of blood flow getting to the eyes.

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Start making changes in your lifestyle and daily routine now to prevent high cholesterol and vision damaging risks. It’s so easy to make healthy, natural changes, like adding the right foods to your diet and exercising. A little motivation and dedication can go a long way in the battle to maintain a healthy life and healthy eyes!

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  1. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen Sparrow says:

    How do you know that people taking statins don’t just get cataracts because of having higher cholesterol than the normal population? How can you be sure it’s from the drug? And not just being in the high cholesterol group?

  2. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen Thomas Thibault says:

    Sorry your analyse is wrong I have a ” healthy Diät ” my cholesterol is considered as low very low but normal for vegetarian. And guess what I have cataract! And if statins cause cataract, it mean cholesterol is necessary for the eye and not the contrary, because statin lower the cholesterol, so it would reduce the cataract and not increased if you was true!

  3. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen romain nsmngr says:

    amazing recommendation. i droped my total cholesterol from 200 to 120 just by following what you recommend : no oil, fruits, veggies, whole grains and sport. after two years i can really appreciate friits and veggies. pizza and ice cream taste gross.

  4. Avatar for Tyler Sorensen jan Forney says:

    great summary thanks!

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About the Author

Avatar for Tyler Sorensen

Tyler Sorensen is the President and CEO of Rebuild Your Vision. Formerly, Tyler studied Aeronautics (just like his brother) with the dream of becoming an airline pilot, however, after 9/11 his career path changed. After graduating top of his class with a Bachelor of Science in Informational Technologies and Administrative Management, he joined Rebuild Your Vision in 2002. With the guidance of many eye care professionals, including Behavioral Optometrists, Optometrists (O.D.), and Ophthalmologists (Eye M.D.), Tyler has spent nearly two decades studying the inner workings of the eye and conducting research.

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