Aspirin is a cornerstone for millions of patients in their daily regiment for heart health, headaches, body aches or fever. But a new study released sheds some negative light on what many medical professionals label as a miracle pill. The results were published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Researchers in Australia followed more than 2,000 adults, where 11 percent of subjects were regular aspirin users, which meant they had taken the drug at least once a week in the past year.
Participants in the study had regular eye exams to monitor changes. Fifteen years after the study began 63 people in the study had developed “wet” macular degeneration.
Regular users were more than twice as likely to develop macular degeneration, than those who were not aspirin users..
Macular degeneration, or age-related macular degeneration is a leading cause of vision loss in Americans 60 and older. It is a disease that destroys sharp, central vision. Central vision is needed to see objects clearly and to do tasks like reading and driving.
While the study does not mention why aspirin may lead to macualr degeneration, one theory is that aspirin ramps up a part of the immune system called the complement system. Many people with macular degeneration carry a form of a gene that keeps them from being able to turn down the complement system when needed. Researchers say the result is that the immune system may be chronically overstimulated, which causes damage to the back of the eye.
If you are currently taking aspirin talk with your doctor before stopping or changing your routine.