SYDNEY, Jan. 22 (UPI) -- Regular aspirin use may be linked with an increased risk of age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness, Australian researchers say.
Gerald Liew of the University of Sydney and colleagues said the study involved 2,389 participants of which 10.8 percent were regular aspirin users -- defined as once or more per week in the past year.
The study, published in the online first journal Internal Medicine, found after a 15-year follow-up, 24.5 percent developed incident AMD.
"The cumulative incidence of neovascular AMD -- existing late AMD in the fellow eye -- among non-regular aspirin users was 0.8 percent at five years, 1.6 percent at 10 years, and 3.7 percent at 15 years; among regular aspirin users, the cumulative incidence was 1.9 percent at five years, 7 percent at 10 years and 9.3 percent at 15 years, respectively," Liew and colleagues wrote in the study. "Regular aspirin use was significantly associated with an increased incidence of neovascular AMD."
However, the study authors noted any decision concerning aspirin therapy is "complex and needs to be individualized."
"Currently, there is insufficient evidence to recommend changing clinical practice, except perhaps in patients with strong risk factors for neovascular AMD in whom it may be appropriate to raise the potentially small risk of incident neovascular AMD with long-term aspirin therapy," the study authors concluded.
"The findings are, at best, hypothesis-generating that should await validation in prospective randomized studies before guiding clinical practice or patient behavior."