Aspirin use may cause age-related blindness

Last Updated: Tue, Jan 22, 2013 09:50 hrs

Sydney, Jan 22 (IANS) Aspirin, a drug for prevention of cardiovascular disease, is likely to raise the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of blindness in older people, says an Australian study.

Aspirin is one of the world's most popular drugs for prevention of cardiovascular disease like myocardial infarction (heart attack) and ischemic stroke (poor blood supply to heart).

While a recent study suggested that regular aspirin use was linked with AMD, particularly the more visually devastating neovascular (wet) form, other studies have reported inconsistent findings.

Smoking is also a preventable risk factor for AMD, according to the study authors, the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, reports.

Gerald Liew, from the University of Sydney and colleagues examined whether regular aspirin use (once or more per week) was tied to a higher risk of AMD by conducting a prospective analysis of data from a 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 a Sydney statement.

"The cumulative incidence of neovascular AMD among non-regular 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 authors note.

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