REGULAR use of aspirin can almost triple the chance of developing a condition that causes more older people in Britain to lose their sight than any other, researchers are warning.
Scientists have found those who take aspirin on a regular basis are much more likely to develop "wet" age-related macular degeneration ("wet AMD") than those who do not.
The disease, in which one's central vision becomes progressively more blurred, affects a quarter of a million mainly elderly people in Britain.
Now scientists have found the strongest evidence yet that aspirin – taken by millions to ward off heart attacks, strokes and cancer – appears to greatly increase the chance of developing wet AMD, which is irreversible. Australian academics drew their conclusions after following almost 2400 middle-aged and elderly people for 15 years. Of the participants, who were all at least 49 years old at the start of the study, 257 were deemed "regular" users of aspirin, who took it at least once a week. The rest only took it occasionally.
After the 15-year study period, one in 27 of the "occasional" users (3.7%) had developed wet AMD.
But almost one in 10 of the "regular" users (9.4%) had developed it.
However, aspirin has long been known to have side effects, most prominently increasing the risk of intestinal bleeds, which can cause ulcers.
Matthew Athey, of the RNIB charity said: "Further research is needed to clarify and investigate some of the issues raised in the study; however this association may be valuable for doctors in the future when considering aspirin for their patients." – The Daily Telegraph