Studies have found that regular aspirin usage over extended periods of time can significantly increase your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD). In fact, it has been shown that adults who use aspirin regularly over a ten-year-period are 63% more likely to develop AMD. Considering that 20% of adults take aspirin regularly, this increased risk affects a significant amount of the population.
What is AMD?
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a degenerative disorder that affects the central part of the retina. The main part of the eye affected is the macula, with the damage resulting in the progressive loss of central vision. There are two types of AMD: dry and wet. Dry type accounts for nine out of ten AMD cases diagnosed and progresses slowly over a number of years. However, wet AMD is more serious. Between 10% and 15% of AMD patients are diagnosed with wet type. Wet AMD progresses rapidly and can cause bleeding under the macula. It is severe and needs to be treated immediately in order to minimize vision loss. Aspirin usage increases the risk of developing both wet and dry AMD.
Visudyne photodynamic therapy and laser surgery have been proven effective in treating wet AMD. Dry AMD can be successfully treated with dietary and vitamin supplements, such as zinc, beta carotene, lutein, copper, and vitamins C and E. In addition, studies have found that eating a diet high in antioxidants (particularly those found in leafy greens such as kale and spinach) can lessen the effects of AMD. You should also incorporate a serving of fatty fish or fish oil supplements into your diet at least once a week, since a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids also slows the onset of AMD.
Even though regular aspirin usage may increase your risk of developing both dry and wet type AMD, that does not mean that you should discontinue your aspirin regimen. It’s important to consult both your health and eye care professionals before making any changes to your aspirin intake. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Ghosheh today for a detailed exam and consultation, and feel free to contact us with any of your eye care concerns.