Australian researchers have found a link between regular aspirin use and the risk of macular degeneration. This age-related eye disease is a leading cause of blindness among senior citizens.
In the Blue Mountain Eye Study, investigators followed more than 2000 subjects for up to 15 years. During the decade and a half, participants had their eyes examined on four separate occasions. Special photographs were taken of their retinas to assess whether they developed macular degeneration. Nearly 10% of the people in the trial took aspirin on a regular basis.
After 15 years, the aspirin users were a little more than twice as likely to have developed wet macular degeneration. Over the entire 15-year period, about 9 percent of the aspirin users and almost 4 percent of those not using aspirin had developed wet macular degeneration. The investigators concluded that this risk is too small to change clinical practice at this time. An accompanying commentary in JAMA Internal Medicine concluded that “decisions about aspirin use are best made by balancing the risks against the benefits in the context of each individual’s medical history and value judgments.”
[JAMA Internal Medicine, online, Jan. 21, 2013]