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Study: Eye damage caused by aspirin

Study: Eye damage caused by aspirin

Regular aspirin intake can damage the eyes

Regular aspirin use over a long period of time can cause eye damage. Scientists from the University of Sydney have published a study in the journal "JAMA Internal Medicine" that examines the risk of age-related macular degeneration from taking aspirin. The eye disease causes a loss of retinal function, which can lead to a decrease in visual acuity and ultimately blindness.

In their “prospective analysis”, the scientists led by Gerald Liew from the University of Sydney evaluated the data of a population-based Australian cohort study in order to find out possible connections between aspirin intake and the occurrence of eye diseases. The initial study was carried out over a period of 15 years and included four interim examinations, in which the eyes were also examined. At the start of the study, participants completed a detailed questionnaire that also included aspirin intake, the status of cardiovascular disease and other risk factors for age-related macular degeneration. The result is unsettling: Regular use of the aspirin active ingredient acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) over a long period of time is associated with a significantly increased risk of eye disease.

Increased risk of macular degeneration from aspirin Overall, the researchers evaluated the data of 2,389 patients as part of their study on the effects of aspirin intake on the eyes. According to the scientists in the specialist magazine "JAMA Internal Medicine", 257 subjects (10.8 percent of the sample) took regular aspirin (at least once a week) over a longer period of time. Almost one in four (63 subjects) developed neovascular age-related macular degeneration (Wet macular degeneration) After adjusting the data for factors such as age, gender, smoking, cardiovascular diseases, systolic blood pressure and body mass index, the risk of wet age-related macular degeneration among the regular aspirin users was in the 15-year-old The study period was 9.3 percent, but only 3.7 percent of the subjects who did not use aspirin fell ill, according to the Australian researchers. “Regular intake of aspirin is associated with a significantly increased risk of age-related macular degeneration, regardless of other risk factors such as Cardiovascular disease or smoking, so that Conclusion from Liew and colleagues.

Far-reaching importance for everyday practice The results of the Australian research team have a far-reaching effect in everyday practice, since many patients with diseases of the cardiovascular system (e.g. hardening of the arteries or coronary heart disease) receive the active ingredient aspirin. Because this has a blood-thinning effect, it can prevent vascular occlusions (thrombi) and ultimately reduce the risk of heart attack. However, several studies have already identified significant risks of regular use of the active ingredient in aspirin, so that prescribing cardiac patients is viewed much more critically today than a few years ago. Nevertheless, the Australian researchers have a positive assessment of the benefit-risk balance for certain patients. However, this does not apply to all cardiac patients. According to Liew and colleagues, a differentiation should be made in the future and, if the preventive effect of aspirin is only slightly or not clearly documented and there is a high individual risk of wet macular degeneration, the preventive use of aspirin may be avoided. (fp)

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Image: Rainer Sturm / pixelio.de

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