A new study found that taking aspirin might increase the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and related vision loss in older people. This raises concerns given that aspirin consumption and eye disorders are both expected to increase as the population ages.
The study conducted by the University Of Wisconsin School Of Medicine was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in December. Focusing on people age 43 and up, researchers found that signs of late stage AMD increased from 1.03% to 1.76% among those who took aspirin regularly for 10 years before being diagnosed. These findings refer to “wet” AMD, which is a rare and more serious form of the disorder. All forms of AMD involve damage to the retina, reduced ability to see fine detail, and potential blindness.
These findings do not establish cause and effect and the biological mechanism involved is still unknown. Therefore, most experts say patients should not discontinue any aspirin therapy recommended by their doctor.
If you’re concerned about balancing your risk of AMD while taking aspirin to help prevent heart attack or stroke, there are some steps you can take. Quitting smoking is at the top of the list. Tobacco smoke may double the chances of getting AMD. Additional measures include scheduling regular eye exams and maintaining a healthy body weight. Diet also plays a role. Aim to eat plenty of fruits, nuts and fish.
As far as aspirin therapy is concerned, aspirin reduces the risk of heart attacks by inhibiting platelets, the small blood cells that trigger clotting. During a heart attack, a blood clot often blocks an artery and reduces oxygen flow to the heart. If you have coronary artery disease or you are a man over 50, your doctor may recommend taking aspirin daily in low doses.
Protect your health by staying up to date on the advantages and risks related to aspirin and other medications. Contact us for more information.