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Decreased risk of non-infectious anterior uveitis with statin therapy in a large healthcare claims database



The purpose of this study is to determine if statin therapy decreases the incidence of non-infectious uveitis (NIU) using a retrospective cohort study.


Patients enrolled in a national insurance plan who initiated statin (n = 711,734, statin cohort) or other lipid-lowering therapy (n = 148,044, non-statin cohort) were observed for NIU development. Incident NIU in the primary analysis was defined as a new diagnosis code for NIU followed by a second instance of a NIU code within 120 days. For the secondary outcome definition, a corticosteroid prescription or code for an ocular corticosteroid injection within 120 days of the NIU diagnosis code was used instead of the second NIU diagnosis code. Estimation of NIU incidence used multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression. The proportional hazards assumption was satisfied by creating two time periods of analysis, ≤ 150 and > 150 days. Subanalyses were performed by anatomic subtype.


Overall, the primary outcome occurred 541 times over 690,465 person-years in the statin cohort and 103 times over 104,301 person-years in the non-statin cohort. No associations were seen in the ≤ 150-day analyses (p > 0.20 for all comparisons). However, after 150 days, the statin cohort was less likely to develop any uveitis [hazard ratio (HR) = 0.70, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.51–0.97, P = 0.03] in the primary outcome analysis, but did not meet significance for the secondary outcome (HR = 0.85, 95% CI: 0.63–1.15, P = 0.30). Similarly, in the anatomic subtype analysis, after 150 days, the statin cohort was less likely to develop anterior uveitis (HR = 0.67, 95% CI: 0.47–0.97, P = 0.03) in the primary analysis, but the association did not reach significance for the secondary outcome (HR = 0.82, 95% CI: 0.56–1.20, P = 0.31).


Our results suggest that statin therapy for > 150 days decreases the incidence of NIU.

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Data availability

The data that support the findings of this study are available from the authors, LS and BLV, upon reasonable request.

Code availability

The data that support the findings of this study are available from the authors, LS and BLV, upon reasonable request.


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All contributors to the study have been designated as authors of the manuscript in accordance with ICMJE’s guidelines.


LS, YY, JHK, RAH, and BLV were funded by National Institutes of Health (R21 EY029851). The University of Pennsylvania Core Grant for Vision Research (P30 EY001583) provided funding to researchers in the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Ophthalmology. Additional funding was provided to LS, JHK, and BLV by Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB) and to JHK by Sight for Souls.

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Authors and Affiliations



LS, JHK, and BLV conceived the study. LS, YY, and BLV carried out the analysis. LS, YY, SH, GS, RAH, JHK, and BLV contributed to the interpretation of the results. LS and SH wrote the manuscript with input from all authors. All authors provided critical feedback and helped shape the analysis and manuscript. Lucia Sobrin and Brian L. VanderBeek had full access to all the data in the study and take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Lucia Sobrin.

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Ethics approval

The study protocol was approved by the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary’s and University of Pennsylvania’s Institutional Review Boards. This study was deemed exempt from review due to the de-identified nature of the data.

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Not applicable.

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Not applicable.

Conflict of interest

Dr. Kempen has served as a consultant for Gilead (Data and Safety Monitoring Committee Chair). Dr. Hubbard has received financial support from Pfizer and Humana. The remaining authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.


The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH. None of the funding organizations had any role in the design or conduct of the study.

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Sobrin, L., Yu, Y., Han, S. et al. Decreased risk of non-infectious anterior uveitis with statin therapy in a large healthcare claims database. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol 259, 2783–2793 (2021).

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  • Uveitis
  • Statins
  • Epidemiology
  • Biostatistics
  • Statistics
  • Big data