By Erika Panacci
Blindness in older adults is tied to the use of regular aspirin, a new study has found.
“Aspirin has a number of uses,” said pharmacist Pat Suggitt from Maple Pharmacy in Vaughan, Ont. “For those people who need to have blood thinners doctors go with the baby aspirin, and anything higher definitely is being used, probably for severe arthritis.”
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, aspirin is one of the most commonly used medications worldwide. More than 100 billion tablets are consumed each year.
“Aspirin is also widely used for primary prevention of CVD [Cardio Vascular Disease], although its value in low-risk individuals is less certain and has been questioned,” the article said.
“I see a lot of elderly people on it, but they put them on a low dosage aspirin to keep their blood thin if they had a risk of heart attack or stroke,” said Suggitt.
The Australian study, which was published in JAMA on Jan. 21, analyzed 15 years of data about the correlation between aspirin and eye disease.
Over the course of four years, each participant had a routine eye exam. They had a photograph taken of both their retinas. This was to show if any signs of age-related macular degeneration existed which is the retina coming away.
“It’s seen in the elderly, most often and they can go blind. So that is why they put them immediately on vitamins,” Suggitt said.
Jie Jin Wang, the study’s lead author told Reuters Health in New York, her team had information on over 2,000 participants involved in the study. Two hundred and fifty-seven of them used aspirin on a regular basis and approximately 25 per cent of those people developed age-related macular degeneration.
Wang said that there isn’t enough evidence linking aspirin to loss of vision.
“I don’t think the current evident is strong enough to conclude cause,” Wang said. “We still need to accumulate more evidence.”
Suggitt also agrees, and believes there should be more studies done.
“We see a lot of people who have macular degeneration that aren’t even on aspirin.”