Daily Aspirin Increases Risk of Macular Degeneration

New research has shown seniors taking a daily dose of aspirin are twice as likely to develop late stage macular degeneration than people who don’t take the drug.

While aspirin does not directly cause macular degeneration, researchers are concerned that aspirin may increase the severity of the eye disease.  When you consider the number of seniors who take a daily dose of aspirin to lower their risk of heart disease, this could mean people with early stage macular degeneration should no longer take the drug.

As part of the research nearly 4700 people over 65 were examined.  There were 839 people taking a daily dose of aspirin and out of those, 36 had advanced wet macular degeneration or 4 out of every 100 daily aspirin users.  This is compared to roughly 2 out of every 100 for people with macular degeneration who took aspirin less frequently.

With wet macular degeneration, blood vessels in the eye leak, leading to vision loss in the centre of the eyes field of vision.  Dry macular degeneration is caused by the build up of drusen and progresses slower.  Both forms of the eye disease are responsible for vision loss in the majority of seniors.

It is important to note the research did not find any relation of aspirin use to dry macular degeneration or to the early onset of the eye disease in either form.

Researchers are also careful to point out the benefits of using aspirin to prevent cardiovascular disease from worsening may outweigh the risks for developing late stage macular degeneration.

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