Aspirin found to be associated with Macular Degeneration

A new European study has found that people taking aspirin daily are twice more likely to suffer from late stage macular degeneration. Although the study does not say that aspirin is the causal agent, yet there is an association between aspirin consumption and macular degeneration. The study, which has been published in the latest issue of the journal “Ophthalmology”, included 4691 participants who were above the age of 65. The participants were from seven centers in Norway, Estonia, Britain, France, Greece, Italy and Spain.

 The researchers found that frequent aspirin use was associated with early aging macula disorder (AMD) and wet late AMD, and the frequency of disease rose with increasing frequency of consumption. Of the 839 participants in the study who took aspirin daily, 36 developed wet late AMD. This equates to almost four out of every 100 daily aspirin users. Among the infrequent users of aspirin, two out of every 100 participants developed AMD.

Wet and dry forms of AMD are one of the leading causes of loss of vision in the elderly people above the age of 60 and affect millions of Americans. Aspirin is often taken by the senior citizens to prevent cardiovascular diseases. Some scientists have argued that it could be cardiovascular diseases and not aspirin that are linked with macular degeneration. However, according to Dr. Paulus de Jong at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience and Academic Medical Center, who was the lead author of the study, the researchers analyzed the results of the study carefully and found that aspirin users -- regardless of their heart health -- are at a greater risk of the more serious type of vision loss.

However, the researchers have cautioned that for people with cardiovascular disease who take aspirin to prevent the condition from worsening, the benefits of the drug outweigh the risks to visual health. Moreover, further studies are required before one can clearly establish the association between aspirin and macular degeneration.

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Date: 
Saturday, October 1, 2011