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New study notes aspirin risk on macular degeneration

Dec 19, 2012

While there may be benefit to taking aspirin on a regular basis, a new study shows that this habit could cause eye problems.

According to a report, people who take aspirin on a daily basis are more likely to develop age-related macular degeneration, or AMD. The risk was only noticed among people who had taken aspirin regularly at least 10 years prior to developing the eye disorder. Regular doses of aspirin is considered two pills per week for three months. 

Researchers say the risk is highest that a person who regularly took aspirin that they would develop neovascular AMD, which is also known as wet AMD. This condition is typically more severe than a related disease known as dry AMD. The study conducted at University of Wisconsin School of Medicine is published in the most recent edition of Journal of the American Medical Association.

People who take aspirin regularly are twice as likely to deevelop wet AMD but the overall risk is relatively low because the condition is not common among everyone who takes aspirin regularly. About 1 percent of all people over the age of 40 are likely to develop wet AMD, according to the report.

This study adds to conflicting evidence on the risks of macular degeneration associated with taking aspirin. For millions of Americans, taking aspirin is a common, almost everyday practice. The report suggests as many as 1 in 5 American adults takes aspirin to either reduce fever or pain, or in the prevention of heart attacks. Many don't consider the risks of taking aspirin and generally believe there are no side effects to taking it, certainly none as serious as this eye condition. 

Researchers noted that people who took aspirin regularly just five years ago were not likely to develop AMD for at least another five years, if aspirin were to be the cause. They believe that the overall benefits a person may gain in preventing heart attacks by taking aspirin outweigh the risks associated with AMD.

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