Long-term aspirin ‘blindness link’

 

A study on 2,389 people, in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, showed aspirin takers had twice the risk of “wet” age-related macular degeneration.

The disease damages the ‘sweet spot’ in the retina, obscuring details in the centre of a patient’s field of vision.

The researchers said there was not yet enough evidence to change aspirin use.

Taking low doses of aspirin every day does reduce the risk of a stroke or heart attack in patients with cardiovascular disease. There are even suggestions it could prevent cancer.

One in 10 people in the study, conducted at the University of Sydney, were taking aspirin at least once a week. On average the participants were in their mid-60s.

Eye tests were performed after five, 10 and 15 years.

By the end of the study,theresearchers showed that 9.3% of patients taking aspirin developed wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) compared with 3.7% of patients who did not take aspirin.

Their report said: “The increased risk of [wet] AMD was detected only after 10 or 15 years, suggesting that cumulative dosing is important.

“Given the widespread use of aspirin, any increased risk of disabling conditions will be significant and affect many people.”

Wet AMD is caused by blood vessels growing in the wrong place. They cause swelling and bleeding which damages the retina.

The process can happen very quickly with vision being damaged in days. Age, smoking and a family history are the main risk factors.
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There are already known risks of aspirin such as causing internalbleeding.Theresearchteamsuggesttheriskofdamagingeyesight”may