Regular aspirin use may raise risk of age-related eye disorder
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.
- 1 Avengers: Age of Ultron: Nearly 700 German cinemas refuse to show movie
- 2 Donald Trump decides that Baltimore riots are Barack Obama's fault
- 3 X Factor in crisis as numbers of people auditioning plummets
- 4 General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
- 5 Baltimore riots: Furious mother marches her son home live on TV
Bali Nine executions live: Indonesian firing squad shoots dead eight drug offenders despite outcry around world, but a ninth is spared
Keith Harris dead: Orville the Duck ventriloquist dies aged 67 following battle with cancer
The four utterly contradictory polls that tell the story of this election and why it is pointless trying to predict the outcome
Donald Trump decides that Baltimore riots are Barack Obama's fault
General Election 2015: Prospect of Labour-SNP coalition makes one in four voters less likely to support Ed Miliband, says survey
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia
£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm of accountants based ...
£30000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a financial services c...
£30000 - £32000 per annum + car allowance and on call: Ashdown Group: A succes...
£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Well established small company ...