In this medical video learn how to protect your vital organs in your body.
Read the full transcript »
Jennifer Mathews: There are a lot of things Louise Collier doesn't like about growing old. So far, losing her vision has been the hardest. Louise Collier: That's the worst thing that can happen to you. You don't realize it as you go day by day seeing, but you can't do anything when you can't see. Jennifer Mathews: Louise has wet macular degeneration. A deterioration of the retina that blurs focus. At 82, she's not alone. It's the leading cause of vision loss in America. Donald Fletcher: Generally, it's one of the prices you pay for the wisdom of age. Jennifer Mathews: The disease is often attributed to simply getting older, but new research suggests there could be another risk factor, Cholesterol. Dr. Gerald McGwin wondered if cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins would reduce the risk of macular degeneration. They studied the records of more than 5,500 men. Gerald McGwin: And what we found was that those who had macular degeneration were less frequently using statins. Jennifer Mathews: Specifically, there was a 50% reduction in the risk of macular degeneration among the men taking statins. McGwin says now his research shifts to why? Gerald McGwin: This is very important for understanding how they work. This is very important for understanding the cause for the disease. Jennifer Mathews: For Louise, it's too late, but the future of statin therapy could mean a crisp, clear future for generations to come. This is Jennifer Mathews reporting.