Aspirin linked to blindness in elderly

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REGULAR use of aspirin can more than double the risk of a leading cause of blindness in older people, research suggests.

Scientists found a significant link between taking aspirin on a regular basis and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

AMD occurs when the middle of the retina becomes damaged, leading to the progressive blurring of central vision.

Wet, or neovascular, AMD, caused by the growth of abnormal blood vessels is the most serious form of the condition. Without treatment, wet AMD can result in a deterioration of vision within days. The new research compared rates of wet AMD among more than 2,000 regular and non-regular users of aspirin over a period of 15 years.

Regular use was defined as taking aspirin once or more per week. Among non-regular users, rates of wet AMD rose from 0.8 per cent at five years to 1.6 per cent at ten years and 3.7 per cent at 15 years.

Corresponding rates for regular aspirin users were 1.9 per cent 7 per cent, and 9.3 per cent.

The study authors, led by Dr Gerald Liew from the University of Sydney in Australia, wrote in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine: “Currently, there is insufficient evidence to recommend changing clinical practice.”