Having aspirin frequently seems to be linked to an higher risk of neovascular age-related macular degeneration [ a leading cause of blindness in older people] and there appears to be no linkage to cardiovascular disease or smoking. These observations were reported in Online First by JAMA Internal Medicine
Gerald Liew, Ph.D., of the University of Sydney, Australia, and colleagues investigated whether regular aspirin use [once or more per week in the past year] was related to an increased risk of developing AMD by doing a prospective analysis of data from an Australian study involving 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 of aspirin users] developed AMD, reports the study.
“The cumulative incidence of neovascular AMD among nonregular 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. “Regular aspirin use was significantly associated with an increased incidence of neovascular AMD.”
The authors note that any decision concerning whether to stop aspirin therapy is “complex and needs to be individualized.”
“Currently, there is insufficient evidence to recommend changing clinical practice, except perhaps in patients with strong risk factors for neovascular AMD [e.g., existing late AMD in the fellow eye] in whom it may be appropriate to raise the potentially small risk of incident neovascular AMD with long-term aspirin therapy,” the authors conclude.