Deteriorating eyesight is a major problem for the elderly and one of the most feared diagnoses is age-related macular degeneration, a condition that becomes more common after 50 and leads to major vision loss. Aspirin use is also increasingly common among people at midlife.
Now a new study published in the current issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association says that regular aspirin use a decade or more before diagnosis of macular degeneration increases the risk of the disease.
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin followed the eye health of nearly 5,000 people for up to 20 years. The subjects, who were 43 to 86 at the start of the study, were asked if they had regularly used aspirin at least twice a week for more than three months.
The researchers found that there was a small but statistically significant increase in risk of age-related macular degeneration among people who were regular aspirin users 10 years earlier.
This doesn't mean you should stop taking aspirin – especially if your doctor has suggested that you use it. The study is preliminary and the researchers say further work is needed to understand the possible connection between aspirin and macular degeneration.
Talk to your doctor about how these results might apply to you.