Aspirin ‘triples chance of leading cause of blindness’
January 22, 2013
By STEPHEN ADAMS | UK TELEGRAPH | JANUARY 22, 2012
Scientists have found those who take aspirin on a regular basis are much more likely to develop ‘wet’ age-related macular degeneration (‘wet AMD’) than those who do not.
The disease, in which one’s central vision becomes progressively more blurred, affects a quarter of a million mainly elderly people in Britain.
Now scientists have found the strongest evidence yet that aspirin – taken by millions to ward off heart attacks, strokes and cancer – appears to greatly increase the chance of developing wet AMD, which is irreversible.
Australian academics drew their conclusions after following almost 2,400 middle-aged and elderly people for 15 years.
Of the participants, who were all at least 49 years old at the start of the study, 257 were deemed “regular” users of aspirin, who took it at least once a week. The rest only took it occasionally.
After the 15 year study period, one in 27 of the ‘occasional’ users (3.7 per cent) had developed wet AMD.
But almost one in 10 of the ‘regular’ users (9.4 per cent) had developed it.
Writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the researchers concluded: “Regular aspirin use was significantly associated with an increased incidence of neovascular [wet] AMD.”
Sight charities said doctors should bare the findings in mind when advising patients on whether or not they should take aspirin as a preventive medicine, particularly those who already had wet AMD in one eye.