Regular aspirin use may raise risk of age-related eye disorder

 

New York

Older adults who use aspirin regularly for 10 years or more may have an increased risk of developing an age-related eye disorder that can lead to vision loss, a study found.

The risk of having wet age-related macular degeneration was about twice as high for those who regularly took aspirin a decade before researchers detected it in an eye exam compared with those who didn't take the medicine, according to research Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

About 19 percent of U.S. adults take aspirin regularly for pain, arthritis and to prevent heart attacks, the authors wrote. People shouldn't stop taking the medication because its benefits are well known, said lead author Barbara Klein. Instead, more studies are needed to understand how aspirin may contribute to the eye disorder, she said.

"There are a lot of people who take aspirin now for cardio-protective reasons," Klein, a professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, said in a telephone interview. "Should this influence their taking this medicine to save their life? No, don't stop."

Macular degeneration is a leading cause of vision loss in people older than 60, according to the National Institutes of Health. It affects the part of the eye that allows people to see fine details and can lead to blindness. Treatment can slow down vision loss but not restore it.

About 9.1 million people in the United States older than 40 suffer from the condition, according to the Macular Degeneration Association. About 90 percent have the "dry" type where vision slowly becomes blurry. The rest have the "wet" type, where new blood vessels grow under the retina and leak fluid or blood. The wet type accounts for all blindness from the disease, the Sarasota, Fla.-based group said.

In Tuesday's analysis, researchers used data from the Beaver Dam Eye Study, a long-term study of age-related eye diseases in Wisconsin. They included 4,926 people who were ages 43 to 86 at the start of the trial. Patient exams were conducted every five years over two decades. Patients were asked if they regularly used aspirin at least twice a week for more than three months.

The study found that aspirin use 10 years prior to the exam in which the researchers observed patients as having macular degeneration was associated with a small but significant increase in the risk of developing wet or neovascular age- related macular degeneration, the authors wrote.

The study found that 30 of 1,462 people in the study, or 2.05 percent, who used aspirin for a decade prior had neovascular age-related macular degeneration, while 31 of 4,065, or 0.76 percent, of those who didn't use aspirin developed the vision eye disorder. After adjusting for age and sex, the incidence of neovascular macular degeneration was 1.4 percent for the aspirin users and 0.6 percent for the non-users, the authors said.

No association was seen between aspirin use and the dry form of the eye disorder or for shorter-term use of aspirin, Klein said.

Barrett Katz, a neuro-ophthalmologist at Montefiore Medical Center in New York, who wasn't an author of the paper, said the findings show that regular aspirin use may be another small risk factor for age-related macular degeneration. Other risk factors include age, race, cigarette smoking, alcohol ingestion and genetics, he said in a Dec. 17 telephone interview.

More studies are needed to replicate these findings and to show what harm, if any, aspirin has on the vision of people with the disorder or if it causes age-related macular degeneration, Katz said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Experienced Bookkeeper - German Speaking - Part Time

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm of accountants based ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£30000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a financial services c...

Ashdown Group: Field Service Engineer

£30000 - £32000 per annum + car allowance and on call: Ashdown Group: A succes...

Recruitment Genius: Sales & Marketing Co-Ordinator

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Well established small company ...

Day In a Page

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk
Nepal earthquake: One man's desperate escape from Everest base camp after the disaster

Escape from Everest base camp

Nick Talbot was sitting in his tent when the tsunami of snow and rock hit. He was lucky to live, unlike his climbing partner just feet away...
Adopting high fibre diet could dramatically cut risk of bowel cancer, says study

What happened when 20 Americans swapped diets with 20 Africans?

Innovative study in the US produces remarkable results
Blake Lively and 'The Age of Adaline': Gossip Girl comes
of age

Gossip girl comes of age

Blake Lively is best known for playing an affluent teenager. Her role as a woman who is trapped forever at 29 is a greater challenge
Goat cuisine: Kid meat is coming to Ocado

Goat cuisine

It's loved by chefs, ethical, low in fat and delicious. So, will kid meat give lamb a run for its money?
14 best coat hooks

Hang on: 14 best coat hooks

Set the tone for the rest of your house with a stylish and functional coat rack in the hallway
Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?