Aspirin and Age Related Macular Degeneration
Age Related Macular Degeneration is a progressive disease of the macula, the eye’s central part of vision, which usually occurs in elderly people and can result in blindness if untreated. In this European Eye Study conducted at the Queen’s University in the United Kingdom, almost 4700 participants over 65 years of age were divided into 4 groups, ranging from those who never take aspirin to those who take aspirin every day.
About 1/3 of the participants who developed wet macular degeneration were daily aspirin consumers compared to 16% without macular degeneration who took daily aspirin. The authors concluded that frequent aspirin use was associated with early and late macular degeneration and the frequency increased with increasing aspirin consumption.
Before one stops aspirin use, consider the small size of the study and that each patient must be considered individually and discuss their specific condition with their medical doctor. Is their a high risk of cardiovascular disease? then frequent aspirin use may be beneficial. Is their a high risk of macular degeneration with a strong family history in an elderly patient? then warning against aspirin may be appropriate. A thorough review of each patient’s medical history is necessary before any recommendations can be made. Please discuss your situation with your medical doctor and ophthalmologist.