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Lengthy Aspirin Use Tied to Blindness

But don't stop taking it yet: researchers
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 26, 2013 5:44 PM CST
Lengthy Aspirin Use Tied to Blindness
Taking aspirin for a long time may be linked to blindness, a study suggests.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Taking aspirin on a regular basis for years may be a factor in macular degeneration, a study suggests. According to the research, those with a long-term aspirin regime face twice the risk of "wet" age-related macular degeneration, or wet AMD. The illness causes blindness in the center of one's field of vision. But use of the drug can lower the risk of stroke and heart attack—and there's not enough information yet to suggest regular takers should stop, researchers say.

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The study reviewed 2,389 people whose average age was in the mid-60s; a tenth of them were taking aspirin at least once weekly, the BBC reports. Participants had their eyes tested every five years for 15 years. By the study's end, some 9.3% of regular aspirin users suffered wet AMD, while 3.7% of those who didn't take it regularly developed the disease. Still, "for patients at risk of cardiovascular disease, the health risks of stopping or not prescribing aspirin are much higher than those of developing wet AMD," researchers said. (Read more blindness stories.)

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