Regular aspirin use may triple risk of blindness in older people
Regular aspirin use appears to be associated with an increased risk of neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is a leading cause of blindness in older people, and it appears to be independent of a history of cardiovascular disease and smoking, a new study has revealed.
Aspirin is one of the most widely used medications in the world and is commonly used in the prevention of cardiovascular disease, such as myocardial infarction (heart attack) and ischemic stroke.
While a recent study suggested that regular aspirin use was associated with AMD, particularly the more visually devastating neovascular (wet) form, other studies have reported inconsistent findings.
Gerald Liew, Ph.D., of the University of Sydney, Australia, and colleagues examined whether regular aspirin use (defined as once or more per week in the past year) was associated with a higher risk of developing AMD by conducting a prospective analysis of data from an Australian study that included four examinations during a 15-year period. Of 2,389 participants, 257 individuals (10.8 percent) were regular aspirin users.
After the 15-year follow-up, 63 individuals (24.5 percent) developed incident neovascular AMD, according to the results.
"The cumulative incidence of neovascular AMD among nonregular aspirin users was 0.8 percent at five years, 1.6 percent at 10 years, and 3.7 percent at 15 years; among regular aspirin users, the cumulative incidence was 1.9 percent at five years, 7 percent at 10 years and 9.3 percent at 15 years, respectively," the researchers said.
"Regular aspirin use was significantly associated with an increased incidence of neovascular AMD," they added.
But the researchers noted that any decision concerning whether to stop aspirin therapy is "complex and needs to be individualized."
The study was published Online First by JAMA Internal Medicine, a JAMA Network publication.