Long-Term Aspirin Use Linked To Vision Loss

An aspirin a day may be good for your heart but not your eyes. A new study linked age-related macular degeneration (AMD) with long-term aspirin use.

The Institute’s Centre for Vision Research at the University of Sydney in Australia studied 2,389 people over a 15-year period. They found that 63 developed AMD. Out of those 63, little over nine percent of regular aspirin users developed AMD. Only four percent developed AMD who didn’t take aspirin. That equates to an over two-fold increase in those regularly taking aspirin.

The study’s senior researcher Jie Jin Wang said the potential risk is small. However, it is statistically significant “and needs to be balanced with the significant morbidity and mortality of undertreated cardiovascular disease,” according to US News.

The researchers concluded they could not say aspirin was the cause of AMD, warning it is premature for doctors to change their recommendations of aspirin use.

The centre’s director, Paul Mitchell told The Sydney Morning Herald:

“But this is another possible adverse event of aspirin. Aspirin has been put forward as something that just about everyone should take. It’s findings like this that suggest we should be cautious about going down that path.”

Mitchell added there have been three other international studies that suggested a link between AMD and long-term aspirin use. He added there needs to be more studies done.

Aspirin is the most widely used medication worldwide. More than 100 billion aspirin are taken every year. It has been shown to help prevent recurrent heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes.

In the US, 19 percent of adults say they use aspirin regularly and it’s use increases with age. Age-related macular degeneration also rises with age. Researchers agree that this association between the two makes it important to examine.

Currently 1.8 million people in the US have macular degeneration which is an eye disease the destroys sharp, central vision. The study is published in the online edition of the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

The picture below is an example of how someone with AMD sees.

Study links vision loss with aspirin use